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Friends says time is right to take control

Friends Provident says taking over Sesame and Pantheon Financial marks the next phase in its acquisition of distribution companies.

Marketing and UK distribution managing director Simon Clamp says Friends started out buying small stakes but believes the time is right to take full control of distribution firms.

He says: “We have been buying stakes of under10 per cent for a while and recently moved to buying bigger stakes in distribution. The time was right to buy a controlling stake in a distributor and we have been concentrating on these two companies for a while.”

He believes this trend is becoming increasingly common, with Standard Life, Old Mutual, Aegon and Axa also buying distributors.

Industry analyst Ned Cazalet says it is a prudent move as the market is moving to an open architecture model where IFAs can choose to place all their business with one platform provider. Advisers owned by an insurer are likely to put their pension and investment business with that firm for ease of use if there is little to differentiate wraps.

Cazalet says: “This is not about buying Sesame, it is about getting access to a bunch of intermediaries and, given where they think the market will be five years from now, they think it is worthwhile to have advisers with them who will migrate to their platform.”


Aegon Scot Eq joins Thinc protection panel

Thinc Group has announced the addition of Aegon Scottish Equitable to its multi-tie protection panel.Aegon Scottish Equitable will offer its range of personal and business protection products including critical illness cover, income protection and term assurance.Aegon chief executive Otto Thoresen says it is an important step forward in its aim to reach a wider range […]

Fears over policing NPSS

Pension experts are warning that the Government has failed to address how personal accounts will be policed.During a panel debate at Money Marketing Live in London last week, Aegon Scottish Equitable head of pensions development Rachel Vahey said the Government has not raised a debate on how employers will be monitored.She pointed to the experience […]

‘ABI is not looking to resurrect salesforces’

Large-scale provider direct salesforces are extinct and will not be resurrected under the Association of British Insurers’ retail distribution review proposals, claims Norwich Union.Speaking at Money Marketing Live, NU head of distribution development Stephen Gay branded talk that the simplified regulatory regime advocated by the ABI will revive DSFs as “a conspiracy theory”.The ABI’s final […]

Drawing the line on caveat emptor

The issue of caveat emptor has come to the fore again. The FSA has made it clear that firms will be responsible for giving consumers all the information they need to make an informed decision. FSA supremo John Tiner, said: “Increasingly, consumers will be educated to take responsibility for their own actions and while the […]

Embrace simplicity!

By Fiona Holmes, proposition communications manager When I first took out critical illness cover, I was overwhelmed. It wasn’t just the form filling, it was finding out about the sheer number of illnesses I was covered for. Did it give me peace of mind that I was covered for neuromyelitis optica or systematic lupus erythematosus? […]


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