Zurich Advice Network is understood to be offering IFAs a 10-year deal with an initial cash payment and buyouts of up to five times annual earnings as part of its multi-tie plans.
Money Marketing believes the provider intends to have part of its business remain IFA and the rest tied in a process it has dubbed “bifurcation”.
Zan would take over ownership of the clients and it is believed support services such as compliance and marketing support will be offered, with enhanced commission terms also on offer.
However, Zurich says it has yet to finalise its plans.
Berkeley Berry Birch chief executive Stephen Ingledew says some of Zan's firms are already operating along similar lines, with some IFAs having a mortgage arm that is a Zan company but with a pension business remaining independent.
Zurich spokeswoman Erica Harper says: “Our model has not been finalised yet. We are saying, watch this space.”
Informed Choice managing director Nick Bamford says: “I think this is an example of product providers recognising there is no future in product manufacturing but the money is in distribution and they want a distribution channel they can control. The more they can influence an IFA, the better the chance they have of controlling distribution.”
Procrown Investments director Barry Painter says: “Zurich and Axa are doing this because they think it will secure market share but they are mistaken. We have seen with direct salesforces, whether multi-tie or tied, the costs rocket. PI insurers will regard multi-ties as a greater risk than IFAs.”
The new FSA chairman Callum McCarthy joined Aifa director general Paul Smee at the Aifa annual dinner in London last week.
At the dinner, McCarthy said the FSA was not interested in specific definitions of the IFA's role in the sales process, preferring to rely on broad principles of conduct. IFAs have interpreted his remarks as the regulator stepping back from providing a definition of misselling, which former chairman Sir Howard Davies had promised to investigate after last year's dinner.