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Giant merger would create &#39biggest IFA firm&#39

The rumoured takeover of Bradford & Bingley by Barclays could create the UK&#39s biggest national IFA with a total of 1,400 registered individuals.

The potential merger would bring together Woolwich IFA services&#39 400 RIs and its 400 non-regulated mortgage brokers with B&B&#39s 1,000 advisers from Charcol and the MarketPlace.

Analysts believe that one of the main drivers for a potential tie-up could be Barclays&#39 desire to have a bigger presence in the IFA market after depolarisation.

Having 1,400 advisers in total would put the merged group ahead of Inter-Alliance which claims to have 1,300 advisers. However, B&B which has a current price tag of £2bn claims it is already the biggest national IFA in the country.

Inter-Alliance says even if the deal goes ahead it would not have a great effect on it in terms of competition. It does not believe that Barclays would merge the IFA brands and, in terms of recruitment, it says B&B targets different people as it runs “almost like a direct salesforce.”

Bear Stearns International analyst Mike Trippitt says: “After depolarisation, Barclays may feel it needs more IFA exposure but I am slightly confused how this would sit alongside its distribution deal with Legal & General. On balance, Barclays probably has bigger things on its mind, like Europe.”

B&B head of retail PR Siobhan Hotten says: “We cannot comment on rumours or speculation. We can say we are not in talks with Barclays at the moment. Christopher Rodrigues has always said he has a duty to shareholders to consider offers.”

Barclays spokesman George Huleert says it does not comment on market speculation or rumour.

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