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Scottish Provident to close four branches

Scottish Provident is axing four branch offices in its latest bid to focus its marketing strategy but insists that service to IFAs will not be hit.

Offices in Edinburgh, Cambridge, Leeds and Southampton are to shut, leaving a nationwide branch network of eight. The branches will be phased out over the next four months.

The company says there will be no job losses, with around 20 staff offered positions in nearby branches.

ScotProv says the move is not connected to its decision to pull out of pensions last year or the sale of its unit-trust manager Prolific to Aberdeen Asset Management in August.

ScotProv now concentrates solely on the protection market and is poised to offer long-term-care products next year. New equivalent premium income rose by 38 per cent to £42.4m from £30.6m in the first nine months of this year.

It has long been regarded as a target for takeover. Abbey National has described it as a "plausible" target.

Head of marketing David Robinson says: "We are unusual in the marketplace for having a clear market strategy for developing a competitive advantage. We have the financial muscle to see the strategy through and we are not for sale."

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