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NU, Friends and Widows in £26m Assureweb stake

Norwich Union, Friends Provident and Scottish Widows are taking a 40 per cent stake in Misys-owned Assuresoft to inject £26m into its Assure-web IFA portal.

Misys says the cash boost is the only way it can achieve an effective end-to-end proposition for online trading and servicing. But the deal has sparked fears that the firms could get preferential treatment on the portal although Misys denies this.

It also refutes suggestions the deal favours a multi-tie scenario, arguing the savings will benefit all life companies whatever the outcome of the polarisation review.

Misys will retain operational control of Assuresoft, with one of the three providers getting a non-executive seat on the board.

The deal allows for a further three providers to buy a share in the 40 per cent equity stake, which could lead to a bidding battle between providers.

Providers are paying £9.2m for the equity stakes, with Norwich Union getting 18 per cent and Scottish Widows and Friends Provident both taking 11 per cent. The three will pay a further £16.8m in fees for use of the portal until 2005.

Misys Financial Services Division chief executive officer Ivan Martin says: “IFAs will not shy away from the portal because providers have a stake in it. They will use it for its simplicity and ease of use.”

Financial Services Research Centre director Ian McKenna says: “Providers will be worried about being left out as they battle for a slice of portal pie. This will create further tension.”


CML warns borrowers over rises in rates

Mortgage borrowers should take steps to ensure themselves against increases in interest rates and rising unemployment over the coming year, says the Council of Mortgage Lenders.Following a £1.4bn fall in gross mortgage lending last month, the CML says borrowers should ensure they are able to make mortgage repayments if the global slowdown means they lose […]

Newton chooses freedom

Newton has unveiled the Newton UK opportunities fund, an Oeic that aims for growth by investing in a portfolio of between 40 and 50 UK stocks.The fund manager, John Wood, has the freedom to invest in companies of any size across any industrial sector as he is not bound by a benchmark index. Instead, the […]

Bureaux sets up new arm for LTC advice

Specialist London IFA firm The Bureaux is setting up a new arm, The Care Funding Bureau, to offer advice on planning for long-term care.The new business operates alongside The Annuity Bureau and The Drawdown Bureau. The CFB says LTC is a complex issue and needs specialist advice. It has three advisers and plans to go […]

The FSA certainly isn&#39t independent

The disgraceful capitulation by the FSA in the face of pressure by the Government and the big businesses within the financial services industry shows that it is far from being an independent regulator motivated by protecting the man in the street.Those who think that the current proposals will help any member of the general public, […]

William Littlewood “betting that QE won’t work”

Journalist Alexis Xydias interviews Artemis manager William Littlewood about his views on bond, equity and currency markets and the impact of a Greek exit from the EU. With bond yields at “ludicrous” levels, William believes a tipping point for bond markets is sure to come. As a result, his Strategic Assets Fund holds government bond shorts to the tune of 100 per […]


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