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Inter-Alliance talks may herald return of Amex

American Express is understood to be looking to re-enter the UK financial advice market by acquiring IFA firms.

The US credit card giant is believed to be in advanced talks about a possible tie-up with national IFA Inter-Alliance, which has over 1,000 RIs, making it the biggest IFA in the UK.

Amex is also believed to have spoken to Willis Nat-ional IFA before it was acquired by Bank of Ire-land in July. It was previously in the market through subsidiary Acuma before pulling out in 1993.

Inter-Alliance&#39s share price has plummeted over the past year to 95p from a high of 430p. It has also reported a loss of £2.8m in its interim results for the first six months of this year, a sharp fall from a £700,000 profit from the same period last year.

It is only expected to recruit up to 250 former Pru salespeople rather than the 1,000 it had hoped for from a deal struck after the Pru decided to axe its salesforce in February.

Inter-Alliance spokes-man Charles Ansdell says: “We are certainly not up for sale. We are talking to American Express but I do not know what about. We talk to a lot of companies.”

American Express spokeswoman Jackie Goozee says: “We do not comment on market speculation.”

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