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Metlife looks to bancassurers for variable annuity channel

Metlife is in talks with bancassurers about a tie-up for the distribution of its variable annuity products.

The firm, which has deals with banks in Europe, will not disclose which companies it is negotiating with.

Managing director Dominic Grinstead says: “Bancassurers are potentially very interested in this product. It fits in very well with their client base so it is definitely an area we would like to move into if we have the right partner. We are in discussions at the moment.”

Pharon IFA Nick O’Shea says: “From the consumer’s perspective, I think this is a good thing but Metlife is going to have to make it a lot simpler. I think it is disappointing from the IFA perspective though.”

Grinstead admits that the firm is looking at altering its product but would not reveal whether it would have to be significantly stripped back to fit the mass market.

He says: “We are looking at a range of options at the moment in terms of evolving our product and I know we are not alone. I know that the traditional providers, although they have not launched, are keeping a strong watching brief on this.

“I think if volatility comes down, then I am sure they will choose to enter this marketplace. We were expecting it to happen in 2009. I do not think that is going to happen but it could well happen in 2010.”

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