Santander UK is to carry out a strategic review of its investment advice arm which could see the bank pull out of investment advice altogether, with 880 jobs at risk.
A total of 881 advisers, management and back office staff are being told at a meeting in Birmingham today that the bank is considering how to offer investment advice to customers in future. Options under consideration include continuing to provide mass market investment advice, investment advice purely for affluent customers, and a complete closure of its advice arm.
Santander will continue to provide advice to existing customers, but will not be taking on new business until it can “find the right model”.
In December Money Marketing revealed Santander had suspended its investment advice service and pulled 800 advisers off the road with immediate effect because they were not fully trained to meet “RDR suitability and processes” requirements . At the time, Santander said the advisers would be put on a six-week “intensive training programme” to bring them up to speed.
The bank now says plans to restart its face to face advice service have been delayed due to the “regulatory expectations post-RDR, the further investment that would be required and the length of time needed to complete that investment.”
Santander says it is working to secure roles elsewhere in the business for any affected staff.
A Santander UK spokesman says: “There is never a good time to announce changes such as this and we are acutely aware of the uncertainty staff are facing.
“Santander UK will continue to review how and to whom it can provide face-to-face advice, within the new regulatory framework, in a way that benefits and protects customers, our colleagues and indeed Santander itself.
“Santander’s customer base is generally mass-market, exactly the type of people that can benefit from financial advice. This is why we have worked very hard, and will continue to consider how we can best meet the needs of our customers in this area.”