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Selection process

We have recently announced Sesame Select, our multi-tie proposition, which incorporates products from five leading providers – Axa, Legal & General, Norwich Union, Prudential and Standard Life.

The proposition is one we believe provides a solution to the needs of financial adv- isers and their clients and is robust enough to equip them effectively for what lies ahead in a depolarised world.

The road to building Sesame Select was a long one. It involved lengthy discussions with providers and, crucially, sought the views of advisers and consumers. It was this research that ultimately guided our design efforts, taking into acc- ount the demands that came back from each of these groups.

Many consumers told us they are baffled by the range of choice available in the industry. The regulatory burden was top of the list of issues pertinent to advisers, along with poor provider service and lack of access to quality PI insurance. Advisers are also struggling with administrative hassle, which prevents them from spending enough quality time with clients.

But perhaps the most important message conveyed to us in the process of building our multi-tie proposition is that you simply cannot generalise between client types as a result of their different advice requirements.

We believe the simplicity of Sesame Select addresses these key concerns and will ultimately help advisers access the 32 million adults who currently take no form of financial advice.

We wanted five provid- ers to cover a waterfront of products. Six was seen as not dealing with the issue of complexity raised by customers and four was not seen as offering a qual- ity product range.

Providers chosen for Sesame Select not only had to offer a credible range of products but also financial stability and brand recognition.

Advisers wanted to be able to treat each client differently and therefore offer the maximum flexibility allowed under the FSA rules to switch between whole of market and multi-tied advice processes. As such, we chose to make this a directly-regulated proposition for two reasons. First, it was in reality going to be very difficult to manage a fully-flexible proposition within an environment of appointed representatives. Second, many of the firms which expressed an interest in Sesame Select were bigger firms which were already directly regulated or considering moving that way.

From a consumer perspective, it was extremely important to offer a range of investment fund choices through providers operating in an open architecture environment. This puts the focus on the real role of the provider, which is to ensure good packaging, good product pricing and high levels of service, rather than necessarily investment management. In line with this, the providers in the Sesame Select proposition offer over 280 fund choices from 36 investment managers.

Finally, the focus of advisers on offering advice, rather than products, supports the argument for Sesame Select.

But the one-size-fits-all approach has never been an idea that has sat well with us. We recognise that Sesame Select is not right for every firm or even every RI within firms although the proposition offers real benefits to certain types of advisers and, more important, their clients.

As an e-enabled service, Sesame Select offers higher provider service levels and reduced administration, to help advisers increase their efficiency and improve profitability. Also, I believe we are extending the choices available with our multi-tie proposition, which is becoming increasingly important as advisers seek to offer a range of advice styles to match the needs of their customers.

As part of extending its choice to advisers, Sesame will be providing a business consultancy service to interested firmsSesame’s strategy recognises that we have 8,150 RIs who are quite simply not a homogenous group. Therefore, our ultimate goal in building Sesame Select has been to provide a suite of services which will enable advisers to run the most successful business possible.

Sesame is working with providers to deliver the aim of a truly differentiated service to advisers.

Ultimately, however, the success of the proposition will be judged by consumer,s who we hope will see and experience real benefit from using a Sesame Select adviser.

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