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Friends Prov buys Sesame

Sesame has reassured its members that its buyout by Friends Provident last week won’t leave the network giant single-tied with the insurance provider.

Friends Provident has bought Sesame for £75m from its owner Misys, which has been trying to sell the network since 2006. Sesame has 7,500 registered members.

Friends Provident has also bought Pantheon Financial, an independent financial advisory firm specialising in the high net worth market, for £16.8m in cash.

Ian Thomas, head of marketing at Sesame, says: “Since our launch there was always the chance we would be sold. In March the board agreed a buyout in principle, which put the ‘for sale’ sign up.

“Misys was always clear that we weren’t a core part of its plans. We don’t expect members to leave now we have the ownership issues settled.”

A spokesman for Friends Provident says: “The landscape is changing, with pressure on both providers and products. We reacted to that by developing our distribution method.” Ian McIver, managing di-rector of the Whitechurch Network, says: “I have received a steady stream of enquiries from Sesame members beforeand since the move. They were hanging on for their share options.

“But I can’t see Friends Provident doling out money to members for their shares after it spent £75m on Sesame.”

He adds: “This industry is in a mess and I don’t know what Friends Provident is doing. It sold its own distribution network last year, so why is it buying an IFA network now?”

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