Review of 2004: Life offices

The year kicked off with Standard Life taking its first step down the road to demutualisation after a bruising encounter with the FSA over accounting rules.

Aegon brought together five high-profile IFAs into a single business under the Origen brand and insisted the operation will remain independent.

Axa united its three brands into one in September while Clerical was the first life office to pledge its support for IFAs through the continuation of the FSCS levy – at least for a bit longer.

Abbey’s summer flirtation with Santander Central Hispano was consummated in October when shareholders voted for the takeover by the Spanish giant to go ahead.

Prudential went to the market in October to get £1bn for a return to pension business in the UK with multi-ties clearly on its mind while L&G spent the autumn with horns locked with the regulator over whether it should pay endowment compensation – judgment day comes in the new year.

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FSA investigates BIA on whole-of-life sales

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Digest

Pensions Regulator names chairmanFormer head of Marks & Spencer pensions trustees David Norgrove has been made chairman of the new Pensions Regulator. Norgrove, who has held positions at the Treasury and was Margaret Thatcher’s private secretary, will start his new role in January and his first task will be to select the regulator’s non-executive board.

Review of 2004: Fund supermarkets

Fund supermarkets had another strong year but had to come to terms with the fact that they are maybe not quite as important a distribution channel as some of them might think.

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