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IFAs to get options in Assureweb flotation

Network DBS is gearing up to float Assureweb in a move that will bring

substantial financial benefits for IFAs.

Market analysts expect the IFA-only online quotation and trading service

will float for up to £250m.

DBS will distribute cash to its members following flotation. This will

take the form of a share-option scheme. Shares will be offered to Assureweb

software users as well as DBS members.

Assureweb provides information and transactional services to a quarter of

the UK&#39s 22,000 IFAs in 13,000 firms. It has over 5,000 users.

It is expected that DBS will adopt a similar scheme to Bankhall when

carrying out its flotation and subsequent distribution of assets.

Bankhall will distribute some of its money back to its users after its

recent deal with software group Lynx.

The move will continue an eventful year for Assureweb. In January, almost

£10m was raised from investors for the software company&#39s further

development.

Assureweb has recently formed alliances with Microsoft, PS Engineering and

The SoftAd Group in a bid to dominate online trading linking

intermediaries.

It claims it is close to establishing itself as the primary portal

exclusive to IFAs. Unlike The Exchange and Misys, it is not targeting the

consumer market.

Misys Interactive Trading has sent out final copies of m-link, the

comparative quotation service for IFAs to over 20 of the UK&#39s leading

product providers.

The companies will be testing the system ahead of launch. Misys says the

feedback from this final phase of testing will help to fine- tune m-link

before its launch this month.

Nearly 1,000 IFAs registered for the pilot stage of m-link which ran

through- out March.

Misys Interactive Trading editor-in-chief Paul Charles says: “We have

formed invaluable partnerships with IFAs and providers during the

consultation process.

“Having taken on board the suggestions, we are set to launch a product

which is truly on the cutting edge.”

Insurers are reassessing the inclusion of CJD in their critical-illness

policies following increased sales of these policies to doctors.

Specialist IFAs dealing with doctors say clients are rushing to take out

critical policies which cover CJD, the human form of mad cow disease.

Scientists last week claimed there was no evidence of the human form of

mad cow disease in a sample of 3,000 specimens of human tissue.

But providers are treating expert reassurance on the extent of the disease

with suspicion. Exeter-based Permanent Insurance says it is assessing

whether it should include the condition in its policies. It does not

currently cover the condition.

Sales and marketing director Rod Macdonald says: “Doctors believe there is

a lot more CJD around than the Government is saying but the extent is not

clear because of the long incubation period for the disease. We are

reassessing the inclusion of the condition but providers could argue that

victims of CJD will always be covered by any permanent total disability

clause in their policies.”

IFAs need to plan their business for the long term to ensure a steady

stream of sales and one of the best ways of sustaining business is to aim

for younger clients whose careers will develop

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