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Man from the Pru on way back

The man from the Pru could be resurrected as the firm looks to launch an online wealth management service with access to direct advisers.

The return to a direct distribution strategy follows a comprehensive review under new director of strategy Nick Smith. Pru is said to be considering spending up to £100m on development, marketing and national advertising costs.

The service is expected to focus on the high-net-worth direct side but could also deliver low-cost products at the lower end of the market.

Smith was recruited from Norwich Union in June in a major reshuffle which saw director of intermediaries Tony Kempster leave the Pru. At NU, Smith headed the wealth management service and is understood to advocate a strategy modelled on Aviva&#39s Australian Navigator system which integrates an online service with access to advisers.

Pru spokesman Paul Keeble says: “The Pru is always looking at new things but I cannot confirm or deny the plans.”

Informed Choice managing director Nick Bamford says: “The Pru will spend millions and will lose millions – it will be wiped out by IFAs who do it better. Didn&#39t they already have a direct salesforce and close it down?”

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