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Life offices face a distribution fight

Whatever the FSA may or may not decide on menus, disclosure and the rest, it is clear that new “distributor” models are already emerging.

Although we have known for at least a year that American Express was interested in buying into distribution long before the Threadneedle deal, we now know it involves a wrap account of some sort, a PI deal and one which involves taking stakes in IFA businesses although it is also hoping to attract fund management backing.

It is early days but could this be a move to loosen the life office stranglehold on distribution? No doubt, the life offices with their fund links galore will not be planning to give up without a fight any time soon.

A Zurich-backed distributor has also unveiled more of its plans to become a major player, including an IFA and a multi-tie under the brand Thinc although it has five divisions, including commercial finance.

It has been quietly building for some time now but hopes to recruit as many as 500 RIs and a sizeable portion of the business plan involves independent advice. So, even in the Zurich businesses, it is not always certain that the multi-tie is king.

Finally, Bates and David Aaron, two of the best-known IFA businesses in the UK, have joined the MoneyPortal stable, demonstrating that the much predicted consolidation among investment IFAs is accelerating although there are no striking shifts in the business model planned – at least not yet.

It does not look like anyone knows what this marketplace is going to look like any time soon. This is, after all, August and still the deals are coming through. Stability by 2007, anyone? Don&#39t bet on it.


Crossed lines

The article headlined, IFAs could save £5m on phone bills (Money Marketing, August 21) misreported BT&#39s research. Deloitte & Touche found that BT&#39s business customers would save £144m a year if they switched from the average best rates of BT&#39s competitors to BT Business Plan, which could mean IFAs saving £5.4m. D&T&#39s point was that […]

A consumer&#39s view

The whole point of mutuality is that the members are supposed to have a say and take part in major decision-making within the comp-any. Sadly, far too few members of mutuals, whether it is an insurance company or building society, take an interest in the affairs of the business, unless they can see some sort […]

American Express aims to wrap up IFA market

American Express is planning to enter the UK IFA market with an extensive business solution proposition which could involve the US giant taking stakes in advisory firms in return for help with PI cover. It would initially involve a wrap platform offering Peps, Isas, individual equities, bonds and offshore products but could evolve to include […]

FSA offers keynote view on credit risk

How lenders manage credit risk along with how investors and rating agencies reward good credit risk management are topics up for discussion at the credit risk management workshop being held at the Landmark Hotel in London next month Organised by the CML/GEMI for September 18, the keynote speech will be given by FSA deposit takers&#39 […]


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