Zurich IFA chief executive Jerry Grayburn is taking early retirement from the Zurich Group at 48 in a move that has shocked IFAs.
Grayburn has been instrumental in establishing Zifa as a credible force in the IFA market. The initial move to bring the Zurich brands, Allied Dunbar, Eagle Star, Zurich, Threadneedle and Sterling under one IFA marketing structure had met with scepticism from marketing experts.
Rival providers are now speculating that the move may pave the way for the integration of the Zifa management structure with the rest of the provider.
The recent appointment of Ray Greenshields as number two to Zurich UK chief executive Sandy Leitch, creating a new tier of management bet ween Grayburn and top management was widely regarded as a blow to Grayburn.
There has been speculation of management rifts over the future direction of the com pany, including over polarisation. But the whole group recently arrived at one official line supporting gap filling.
Zifa spokeswoman Jane Hewin says: “Jerry has always expressed a desire to retire early. He agreed with Sandy Leitch last March he would get the IFA business in good shape and then pass it over. Zurich is a multi-brand, multi-distribution proposition. We have a huge commitment to the IFA sector and the franchised network.”
Maddison Monetary Management managing director Mark Howard says: “Grayburn had achieved a lot at Zifa and established the brand quite well. Allied Dunbar doesn't have the best of reputations and Zifa as a brand is far stronger. A merger could show they are aiming for multi-ties.”