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Resolution and Phoenix look at Co-op FS

Resolution and Phoenix Group are circling the insurance arm of Co-operative Financial Services, Money Marketing understands.

In August, Money Marketing revealed that the Co-operative was looking to sell its life insurance arm, which has assets worth around £18bn and focuses on pension and protection business.

Pearl Group rebranded as Phoenix Group in March and floated on the London Stock Exchange in September. In February, Pearl revealed it had generated about £500m in cash over 2009 and said it would be ready to make acquisitions as soon as it floated.

In June, reports suggested Phoenix was looking to use its £10bn annuity book to help raise money to fund acquisitions of more closed life funds.

Pearl completed a takeover of closed life group Resolution in 2008. Resolution founder Clive Cowdery retained rights to the brand after the takeover, which he used to acquire open life companies such as Friends Provident and Axa’s UK life and pension assets.

A Co-op spokesman says: “Following the merger with Britannia, CFS is committed to a strategic review of its life and savings business. At this stage, no decision has been reached.”

Resolution and Phoenix refused to comment.



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There are 45 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. It would be good to know what they are going to do with the salesforces – we’ve been hanging on for ages waiting for the death blow………..

  2. Having seen 80 life Assurance companies close to new business in the past 12 years along with the majority of tied sales forces/home service, Barclays announcement to get rid of 1000 advisers I think the writing is on the wall as the likes of Resolution etc can pay more for a “Book” of business and be more profitable without a costly sales force and all the regulation and associated staff costs.

  3. Good news for CIS as they can offload a poor performing fund and all the liabilities that go with it, while the purchasers do what they are good at, asset stripping! The poor old client gets poorer, but thats Ethical business.

  4. why do the cfs employees always find out information through a third party can they be open , honest ,fair as all the company paperwork from cfs states

  5. Nothing surprises me, But whilst the management are roosting for positions with the new model, we see the advisers being given the mushroom .treatment kept in the dark & fed on manure.

  6. CFS,state that they wish to be the uk;s most admired financial services business,,To keep their employees in the dark for so long does not help them move towards that position.

  7. It is plain to see that the Co-op group has by design and craft been able to minimise the potential for their advisers to earn money. Consequently this sales force has depleted from over 2500 only 3 years ago to now only 450. This ship has been deliberately steering for the rocks to await this inevitable consequence and reduce the liability of redundancy payments .

  8. CFS state that they are an ethical company,with an open and honest policy however it appears that they are keeping their workforce in the dark as to their real intentions for their life and savings business, their workforce are to be commended for their behaviour under such circumstances not knowing if you have a future with the company after many years loyal service must be horrendous

  9. I believe the co op have gotten too big for their boots and have forgotten their traditions. The selling of companies life and savings is done and dusted. Decisions need to be made for all those concerned as this uncertainty is not good for business…

  10. The quicker they make the decision the better for the policy holders past and present, who have invested in the company unaware which company it will eventually become..???

  11. Having browsed the internet and come across Resolution with it’s comments about the Co-op, i am somewhat not surprised on their plans to sell off their Life and Savings. As a policy holder i am very dissapointed with returns on my investment, only to be told by my advisor that the Co-op intend to ditch the sales force, but everything apparently is all kept secret.

    My question would be, would you invest in the Co-op?? Unknowing if your money is to remain with them? I DONT THINK SO!

  12. I am so pleased that the Co-op are finally moving forward and moving ahead with the times.
    After all, flat caps & bicycles went out with the ark.

    Although, I am sure it must be an unsettling time for the financial advisors not knowing what’s going on, whilst the top dogs of the company reap the rewards with their high salaries. After all, it is the man in the street that made the company what it is today. CIS – RIP.

  13. After reading the other comments i have got to say the days are numbered for the advisers, i’ve waiting for someone to call from the Co-op for months so i thought they had already closed down. Rule Britannia

  14. please please coop do the decent thing give the employees the information and options regarding their future this was first published in oct 2010 yet we have had no further information 3 months down the line this is from a fair and ethical employer , you have given the managers redundancy who have managed out advisers and reduced the work force from thousands to a few hundred in just a few years ,so please do the decent thing and let the employees know whats in store

  15. The question that needs to be asked – ‘what do the customers want?’
    The Co-op was built around home service – if that’s taken away surely the customers should move their money too?

  16. Well I was thinking about moving my money from the Co-op until I saw this. Maybe we will start to see better returns on our investments if this goes ahead. The Co-op as far as I’m concerned USED to be ahead of their market but unfortunately have been lagging behind for some time. Maybe this is just what they need.

  17. ehical coop ? So ethical they want to sell their staff like slaves to the highest, oh they will say they and the union have saved jobs, but as we have loyal clients who needs another employer, just pay up and we can all move on.
    Another point of interest if we are sold down the local slave market do you know the new employer does not have to match our existing pension scheme benfits.

  18. It seems as though the management of CFS are well out of touch with the real values of The Co-op. None of them were raised with the Co-op so what can you expect. They’ve come from the firms that bought us the credit crunch, i.e Santander, RBS, etc. Robert Owen will be turning in his grave. I know we need to change to be competitive but we are in this position due to poor management but once again it’s the people at the bottom who’ll have to pay the price. It’s only the actual board of members that can save it now -will they stay true to the values?

  19. When I worked for the Co-operative Insurance I was always taught the words Sell, Sell, Sell. So come board of directors pull your finger out and make a decision either by investing on your workforce or Sell, Sell, Sell off it’s Life & savings arm and pay off your staff with the redundancy they well deserve.

  20. Can’t agree enough with all the comments. Rod Bulmer & Dennis Ryan are bandits. It will be interesting to see if they do not save the salesforce as promised whether they both do the honourable thing and resign with no pay off.

    I think we all know the answer !!!

    Ethical,Treat Customers Friendly,Keep the staff informed??
    Tell us the next joke !!

    The new management are leaches who are feathering there own nest,following the text book closure of home service.

    Mervyn Pedelty will be turning in his grave at the thought of how the salesforce has been treated !!

  21. looking at all the above comments there seems to be a lot of unhappy and insecure advisors , please look at what cfs did to the bank ifa,s on this same web site so lets have some decent and business like announcements and not skulking in the dark . The the advisors were first told of this by the mail on sunday back in oct 2010 yet the cfs have made no contact at all with the advisors regarding the progress what an insecure position for anyone to be in not knowing what the future holds and best of all your employer not saying or doing anything so come on cfs do the decent thing and inform your work force what is happening

  22. Well I have to say “What are your union’s doing about all this unrest. Surely in my opinion it seems by all the comments this must be absolute persecution not knowing what the future may bring. It seems to me that it’s deliberate act to keep their employees in the dark hoping that some will move on to a more caring organisation that has true value’s for it’s employees.

  23. About time!!! Co-op have needed a buy out for quite some time. Their prehistoric approach has been crumbling for years and their stubborn unwillingness to grasp 21st century business activities. Door to door is dead, companies embracing the new and transparent ways of doing business will live on..!!

  24. Richard Caldwell 5th March 2011 at 2:14 pm

    The game of Russian Roulette is playing on everyone’s mind in the Salesforce.
    Please ,Please just get on with it and pull thr trigger!!

    We all know it’s coming — the sooner the better is what 95% of the staff say !!

  25. As an adviser working for CFS I think we will be given our marching orders after the usual ISA campaign – big premium income for the company before we’re redundant or sold on. They seem to be full steam ahead with the ISA campaign and training for RDR – I suppose that means we are more saleable???!!! Shame really, used to be a company that the others looked up to for the service we provided……….

  26. morag mcdiarmid 10th March 2011 at 11:17 am

    Regarding comments made, I am a policyholder and as I have been told that over the years I along with all policyholders own the Co_op and does this mean that by other comments regarding people coming in from santander and RBS that they have made their money there by closing areas they are now in the Coop to line their pockets again. Surely the board have to ask its members/policyholders what they want, as me as one have different investments so not all returns are low on all the products and I prefer being visited in my own home by a FULLY qualified advisor and believe that she is just as qualified as any Bank advisor who have shareholders to think of!!! Keep with the home sevice Coop they do a good job and keep your initial promise to me as a small part owner and if anything increase your interest in Scotland where you are the caring sharing Coop

  27. What happened to treating Employees fairly , open, honesty, ethical , its all a front and none of these principals are put into practice , you ask what are the unions doing maybe they have signed a confidentiality agreement so no information can be given to its members the tideswill tell or maybe not , what is the method in that ? it is called sat in someones pocket . The fsa , or some ruling body should intervene because this is not the way a bank or financial institution should be behaving , are we seeing them for what they really are, so come on be open and honest for once

  28. Well we’ve seen over the years door sales/service disappear. We have seen the coal man, the bread man, the milk man, and not forgetting the man from the Pru. In modern times surly knocking on customer doors trying to sell them something is a thing of the past. If the Co-op want to compete with the big boys then they need to move into the 21st century as a modern organization. Only then they will become one of the most admired financial providers selling their products through either IFA’s and in their Banks. Surly the cost involved for conducting their business through door to door sales must be tremendous, and who’s paying for it non other the customer.

  29. Service for the customer – the majority of the CFS customers prefer face to face business – surely this could and should be turned into an edge over competitors?

  30. Well the clocks have been put forward, so come on Co-op it’s about time you as a organization tell your workforce your future plans, then everyone can can move forward and not left wondering around on the dark

  31. As advisers for CFS we feel as though we are being treated like mushrooms…………kept in the dark and fed on……….

  32. Well the Co-op certainly know how to treat it’s staff, They still won’t make a decision on what they want to do. Nobody can plan ahead because of this deliberate act of Persicution. All we get is “No decision has been made” They are acommitted to treating customers fairly not Treating it’s workforce fairly.

  33. We’re all doomed!

  34. Any news? Still in limbo. Surely there are some whispers about?

    Would be appreciated of Money Marketing could investigate and ask for some official comment

  35. Heard that AXA are going to be providing financial advisers for the Co-op Bank branches as they are going to be training/coaching the branch staff shortly!

    Still not sure what is going to happen with field sales at this moment in time?

    Why cant the Co-op be OPEN and HONEST with its employee’s on what is happening?

  36. Major internal announcement due week 20.06.11 – could this be it? We’ve waited long enough!! No point asking management yet though as same response is likely i.e. “we don’t know anything yet”!!

  37. Heard a rumour that there is going to be an announcement at the end of June . Apparently AXA are going to be providing financial advisers in the Co-op Bank branches (as they do in Britannia) as they are going to be training the branch staff shortly.
    No news on the field sales channel as of yet but it doesnt look good.
    Why cant the Co-op be OPEN and HONEST with its employee’s???

  38. Rumour has it there is a “Major Internal Announcement” at CIS week 20th June — could this be it? Still all quiet on the shop floor with management pleading ignorance but we’ve waited long enough now so, come on, get it over with.

  39. Major Internal Announcement due at CIS week 20/06/11 – could this be it?

  40. Hi,
    Rod Bulmer emails all staff today to explain we will have our decision in July.
    He explains the earlier date of June 2011 was a date originally given to staff…. Another lie from Rodney. We were given no idea of any date and had to try to carry on as best we could in the dark !!
    I presume Mr Bulmer will also be fired when we get the boot in JULY?? Surely he wont be brazen enough to carry on sucking the life blood out of a company which without doubt he has over the last few years.
    If we could get Charles Mckeown back to restore order surely we would have some chance of survival.
    Coop also lose an expensive tribunal today over unfair dismissal to ex Adviser – Gary Brandwood!!
    How Dennis Ryan has the guts to even fight through a tribunal which was flawed from the start beggars belief!!
    Good on you Gary enjoy the money– lets hope the rest of us join you soon with a nice cheque !!
    No doubt Bulmer & Ryan will try to keep redundancy payments low so it doesn’t affect their bonuses.
    Only question I would like to ask — where are these leaches going next?? so that I can keep well away from them !!

    Ethical Coop ?? No chance !!

  41. Well we all know it is about to happen immediately, the unions have met yet the CIS are still messing us all about. How is this ethical behaviour? We even get a message today that says we will be told the outcome in July, this is the worst kept secret in the industry yet still no information.

    Why are Money Marketing not reporting this? Over 400 financial adviser and their managers are about to be made redundant yet no one is discussing it.

  42. janet ashleigh 2nd July 2011 at 10:48 pm

    i would just like the coop to stop pontificating about thier decision making the salesforce need answers and need them now .Will the banking salesforce be for the chop aswell as the field sales team

  43. Any news on this subject Money Marketing we have had a e mail saying you are publishing an article tommorrow regarding the review????????

  44. Still in the dark but have been told something will be announced this month. Very angry that the company can treat it’s staff like this and think it’s ok.

  45. Stuart Anderson 12th July 2011 at 2:15 pm

    We will be told this friday at 10-30am

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