IFA networks and direct salesforces, including J Rothschild Assurance and Virgin Direct, are preparing to snap up Equi table Life's salesforce.
JRA has already app ro ached individual members of the 400-strong salesforce and is looking to continue its cherry-picking approach.
Virgin Direct says it expects to be taking on a number of Equitable Life advisers as part of its recruitment drive for customer-facing staff.
Allied Dunbar is also tho ught to be another interested party while other sources believe Equitable's last suitor – Prudential – should not be ruled out of the running to buy the entire salesforce.
IFA networks such as DBS and Misys IFA Ser vices are believed to be among the interested parties.
Equitable's fund managers may also be likely to go, in part because, as a closed fund, Equitable's investments will be moving away from equities into gilts and fixed-interest stocks.
Hargeaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier says: “Why would fund managers stay in a closed fund? Funds will be gradually reduced.”
J Rothschild Assurance chief executive Mike Wilson says: “Equitable have some extremely good salespeople and we would be very interested in cherry-picking the good ones. Some will become IFAs and turn to IFA networks and I assume Allied Dunbar must also be interested.”
But Ned Cazalet of Cazalet Financial Consult ing says: “The Equitable Life salesforce has been the most productive in the UK, but that productivity is on the back of Equi table's name and a preexisting client base.
“They are worth a lot less on their own than with the embedded value of Equitable.”