The Virgin Direct brand is set to disappear following its integration with
Virgin Money in a bid to offer a direct gap-filling operation.
Royal Bank of Scotland is taking full ownership of lender Virgin One,
buying the two 25 per cent shares of Sir Richard Branson and Australian
giant AMP for £100m.
The Virgin Direct/Virgin Money deal will see AMP and Virgin maintain a
50/50 stake in the venture, which will be known as Virgin Money.
The move will give Virgin Money users access to both Virgin own-brand
products, including Isas and stakeholder pensions, and products from a
number of other providers through the Virgin Money branch of the service.
Virgin Direct, established in 1995, was among the first direct phone
players and made much of its plans to shake up the way consumers were
serviced by traditional intermediaries.
AMP and Virgin say the development follows the relaxation of the UK
regulatory regime on polarisation concerning direct-offer ads. This gave
the green light to the integration of the two Virgin businesses in April.
Virgin believes its gap-filling approach will be the financial services
model of the future and does not expect the FSA to intervene. Royal Bank of
Scotland says it intends to distribute loans through its bran-ches and IFAs
under the Virgin One brand.
Branson says: “We will grow our range of Virginbranded products while also
offering customers the option of buying from the best of the best companies
across a much wider range of products.”