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Martin confident of success after RDR

Sesame’s incoming leader Ivan Martin is keen to reassure advisers that their future is safe, regardless of the retail distribution review’s outcome.

Martin, who takes over as executive chairman in December, says Sesame’s multi-faceted structure will ensure its success, regardless of the RDR’s result.

He says Sesame, now owned by Friends Provident, will maximise the capital investment into the business in the best possible way to protect its advisers’ interests.

He says: “We will adapt whatever the future brings and I am confident the advice sector will come through as a professional, ongoing sector at the forefront of financial services distribution.”

In a staunch rebuttal to claims that the advice sector is under threat, Martin points to depolarisation as another challenge the sector has overcome.

He plans for Sesame to work in support of Aifa and is encouraging advisers to get behind Aifa’s RDR efforts.

Martin says: “The regulator has looked at the sector before, particularly over depolarisation, and IFAs are still the dominant distribution channel for retail financial services products.

“With our assistance and that of Aifa, I am certain the IFA sector can continue to be a prosperous and successful distribution channel.”

Martin was integral to Sesame’s acquisition by Friends Provident, having worked as a consultant to Friends on its distribution strategy, culminating in the purchases of Sesame and Pantheon Financial in May.

His background at Misys, in its insurance technology and IFA Services divisions, puts him in a strong position to understand the needs of advisers and gives him a thorough understanding of the Sesame business.

He also says his experience as a board director of FTSE 100 businesses made him even more attractive to lead Sesame in the eyes of the Friends Provident board.

Martin says he is pleased that Sesame’s service levels have improved but says complacency is not an optionHe says: “I think it is reasonably well known that there has been a sense of distraction at Sesame over the issue of ownership.

“We now want to be clear with everybody as to what we want to achieve. Sesame’s senior management team have done a terrific job in building a solid, customer-focused business and we have seen service levels improving. We are content but will not be complacent about this continuing.”

Ivan Martin
Early career: US information technology company Unisys
1991-95: Ran healthcare systems division of ACT Group (later acquired by Misys in April 1995); chief executive of number of Misys software businesses
1996-2002: Chief executive of Misys Financial Services division (including IFA networks and
GI operations)
2002-05: Chief executive of Misys Banking Systems, member of main Misys board
2005-07: Independent consultant to financial services organisations, including Friends Provident
June 2007: Non-executive chairman of Sesame, also chairman FDM Group December
2007: will be made Sesame executive chairman


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