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Friends Provident may appoint temporary finance director

Friends Provident has admitted it may be necessary to appoint an interim finance director to replace Jim Smart when he leaves in August.

Smart will leave the firm after the interim results in August when the strategic review will be underway and the incoming chief executive Trevor Matthews is not set to arrive until mid-summer.

In a statement following the AGM yesterday, Friends Provident said “it would be right” for Matthews to have an input in deciding on the team to take the company forward.

The insurer says it has had interest in Pantheon Financial, Lombard and F&C – the three businesses it plans to dispose of.

It expects to make an announcement on Patheon in the next couple of weeks, and hopes for further details on Lombard bidders when it announces its interim results in August.

Friends concedes that F&C may be more complicated to dispose of as it owns just 52 per cent of the business and is therefore not expecting to make any announcements until the third or fourth quarter.


Mike Heenan

Stafford Railway Building Society is over 130 years old and, in terms of size, it is one of the smallest in the UK. It employs just 16 people and has about 17,050 mortgages. But in this case, size is no measure of success.

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