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Royal Liver ponders Park Row options

Royal Liver is considering strategic options which could include the sale of its loss-making distribution arm Park Row.

The company bought Park Row in 2003 for £16.7m but the adviser firm posted losses of £5.8m last year despite cutting costs from £11.2m in 2007 to £7.9m in 2008.

Heavy hits to Park Row’s core mortgage and protection business, declining investor confidence and the loss of a number of registered advisers last year coupled with the economic downturn were blamed for the reduced group turnover.

A Royal Liver spokesman says: “We have received a number of enquiries about Park Row in recent months. The sector is changing rapidly and some are looking to enter or expand. We are considering our strategic options, which, as always, could range from withdrawal from the distribution space or could include adding to our presence, given that any operation needs scale in this sector.”

In March, Money Marketing revealed that Park Row was being investigated by the FSA as part of a review into its systems and controls.

Park Row says it continues to cooperate with the FSA on all matters relating to regul- atory controls and systems.

A spokesman for the firm says: “We are doing our utmost to ensure that we are beyond reproach on that front.”


The long road

With all the hype over the last 18 months about people not investing any longer and retail investment funds seeing more than their fair share of outflows, it is time to take a long-term view.

Question of cashflow

Alistair Darling’s admission to the Treasury select committee that there was “no science” employed in arriving at the new top rate of tax for salaries over £150,000 seems incredulous.


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