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Nationwide first in company stakes

The financial services company with the highest profile in the media last year was Nationwide Building Society, according to Presswatch.

Based on its monthly measurement of media coverage, PWFP says the high volume of mentions achieved by Nationwide throughout 2001 helped it maintain its reputation with “positive reporting of its products, in particular, its savings and mortgage products”.

But on the negative side, the departure of chief executive Brian Davis spurred rumours of boardroom splits over the wisdom of his mortgage policy of offering fair deals to existing customers and “slating rivals for offering gimmicky rates to attract new business”.

In second place was fund manager Fidelity, which PWFP says dominated investment coverage and did well to reduce the number of negative comments it received to 28 from 46 in 2000.

Norwich Union jumped from 14th spot to take third place and Abbey National moved up from 15th to fourth.

Equitable Life finished bottom for the second consecutive year but PWFP says: “Consolation prize to Vanni Treves for facing the wrath of the press with dignity and assurance.”

PWFP sales director Tim Crane says: “Nationwide has long been established as the people&#39s champion in the world of personal finance. It has successfully retained its crown as the best-reported financial services company in the UK. Mortgages and savings were its particular areas of strength in 2001. Once again, Fidelity dominated the investment pages and easily outperformed competitors.”

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