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Lower ratings for Clerical and Widows

Moody’s has highlighted the weak profitability of Clerical Medical’s business through IFAs.

This week, the rating agency downgraded both Clerical and Scottish Widows to reflect a downgrade of parent Lloyds Banking Group from B+ to C+.

Moody’s points out Widows’ “strong and diversified distribution through both IFAs and Lloyds TSB’s bank branches and good product risk with sales in all major lines”.

But it refers to Clerical’s “weak profitability, in particular, those generated through the IFA channel” which it says is offset by its strong business profile, well-diversified distribution channels and good capitalisation.

P3 managing director Frank O’Connell says: “Strong firms have good contact with advisers but Clerical just emails us and expects us to run round after them. Widows has more contact and support.”

Church Hill Finance principal Anthony Badaloo says: “Clerical communication seems to have been done away with.”

Clerical says it anticipated the downgrade and remains strongly rated in line with its global peers.

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