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NU shuts online supermart after a year

Norwich Union is closing its online fund supermarket and wealth

management service a year after their launch because of poor uptake.

The company says just 250 customers signed up to its Norwich Union

Isa through the supermarket, which gave investors access to 70

internal and external funds.

The supermarket and online wealth management service were launched at

a cost of £230m.

NU says the technology has been integrated across its online offering

and would not be wasted.

It says the dismal uptake of the online fund supermarket was caused

by low appetite for equities in a prolonged bear market.

NU has written to all supermarket Isa investors with external funds

telling them to transfer to other Isas outside the supermarket. Any

funds not transferred by April 6 will be turned into cash and

returned to investors.

The company will maintain an online Isa offering for inv-estors who

want to invest in its own funds.

Spokesman Ian Beggs says: “The numbers were disappointing and those

who did come on board would look around and end up buying Norwich

Union products anyway.

“This shows that people are generally not interested in direct

investments through the web without advice.”

Riach Independent Financial Advisers proprietor Bob Riach says: “It

is true that there is not a lot of investment business out there at

the moment but what will they do when markets pick up – launch

another one?”

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