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Norwich Union plans to take stakes in IFAs

Norwich Union is planning to buy minority stakes in IFAs, with the M&E

network thought to be one of the companies which is under consideration.

It is believed to be talking to other product providers about them taking

similar stakes.

NU admits it is reviewing a number of options on its future distribution

strategy and has sought the assistance of consultancies, including Cap

Gemini Ernst & Young.

It is known that the consultancy produced a report for NU looking at the

impact of depolarisation and the introduction of multi-ties.

IFAs believe a number of life offices have held discussions over the

future of their companies&#39 tied salesforces, which could be pooled as part

of a multi-tie strategy.

Industry commentators also believe that the moves may have been prompted

by consolidation in the IFA market following recent moves such as the Misys

takeover of DBS.

Norwich Union sales and marketing director Peter Hales says: “There are

general discussions going on all the time between life offices on issues

likely to affect the market. As far as I am aware, there are no specific

discussions on any specific projects. One possibility for NU is taking

minority stakes in IFA distribution.”

Tenet chairman Barry Kayes says: “General discussions are taking place

around the industry as providers review their whole distribution strategy.

“IFAs are definitely an attractive distribution channel for product

providers.”

He would not confirm talks with NU.

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