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New retail chief says Pru will stick with IFAs

Prudential says it has no plans to grow its direct salesforce or target IFA customers in response to retail distribution review changes.

Speaking to Money Marketing in his first interview since joining the firm, Prudential UK managing director of retail life and pensions Barry O’Dwyer says he does not support Aviva’s view that there will be a 50 per cent reduction in IFA numbers as a result of the RDR.

He says: “What Aviva said is probably an extreme view. I am much more in the camp that actually IFAs are survivors – they adapt. I think back to 1994 and the run-up to commission disclosure in 1995 and there were dire predictions at that stage about how many IFAs would leave the market. It did not happen because IFAs adapt to new environments.”

O’Dwyer also insists that Prudential will not target IFAs’ clients.

He says: “We are totally focused on advisers. We have a very small direct salesforce selling lifetime mortgages only, it is tiny – 25 people and we have no plans to grow that or to broaden it.”

O’Dwyer says that even where a customer does not want to deal with their current IFA anymore or where they have gone out of business, Prudential will refer them to another IFA rather than dealing with them directly.

He says: “We do not have the capability to provide advice direct. It is a different set of circumstances where you initiate the conversation with the customer and we do not have any plans to do that – we will not do that.”

Grosvenor Consultancy managing director Dave Chaundy says: “It is nice to hear firms stating their continued support for IFAs, but whether or not they will have the courage of their convictions remains to be seen.”

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