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Product Matters

CIS has announced its intention to offerits group product range to the IFA market. A tough nut to crack. Any product provider with a long history of direct sales to the public wish- ing to become a player in the IFA market will have a lot of work to do.

It will have to convince a sceptical IFA market to support it rather than continue to support traditional IFA providers. Still, the CIS move is not without precedence. Both Liver-pool Victoria and Brit-annic Assurance have made some inroads in recent months and not without some success in the IFA market.

What is very positive is the CIS recognition that the IFA is the market of successful distribution. Consumers buy from IFAs and trust them more than they

do the direct salesforces. IFAs are, after

all, the winners.

But will IFAs use CIS? As long as CIS delivers the twin benefits of good investment performance and financial strength, they will be in with a chance. Most important, they will have to provide good service. That will be the acid test. What we do not need is another second-rate administrator. So what

I and, I guess, other IFAs, would like to see are published service standards that actually mean something.

The good news is that is exactly what CIS is saying it will do. CIS will be offering a contractual commitment to its group customers that agreed service levels will be maintained.

CIS intends to launch into the IFA market with group stakeholder and group AVC plans. An interesting choice. It will have to fight hard to be inc-luded on IFA lists. It will be interesting to see what they offer.

Nick Bamford is

managing director

of Informed Choice

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