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Network members to diversify in wake of stakeholder

Networks are to encourage members to diversify into general insurance and protection as commission from pensions dries up in the wake of stakeholders.


They believe many members will abandon personal pensions as low margin stakeholder style products are launched prior to the stakeholder&#39s introduction in April 2001.


Top networks are forecasting this, and other low margin Government sponsored products such as Catmarked Isas, will force a sea-change in IFAs&#39 businesses.


The decision amounts to the first admission from networks that IFAs face serious pressure following the release of stakeholder proposals.


M&E is holding workshops to teach members how to better exploit markets for accident and sickness cover, and mortgages.


The 345-member network is planning to extend the workshops at the end of the year to take in private medical, household, and buildings and contents insurance, and to cover members of sister network Interdependence.


It is in negotiations with product providers to develop favourable contracts for members in these areas.


It says this will mean IFAs can fight back against increasing competition from high street banks and building societies.


The network says it could offer to market these products for providers.


DBS is predicting the IFA personal pension market will all but disappear with the introduction of stakeholder and about half of its 1,800 members will pull out of the market to develop other business opportunities .


DBS says protection is an under-developed market, and a natural area for IFAs to move into. It is also planning to train members to tap into the market.


M&E chairman Barry Kayes says: &#34The competitive element from banks and building societies and pressure on commissions means members need to find other areas of business to compensate for that shortfall.&#34


DBS marketing manager Steven Spilsbury says: &#34The market for individual personal pensions will almost disappear come stakeholder. Half our members will pull out of the personal pension market.&#34


Countrywide sales and marketing director Max Wright says: &#34To get people to diversify their business is a sensible way to cope with the changing market.&#34

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