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Sesame survives the sell-off

Sesame will stay in the Friends Provident fold as it gives the insurer a good insight into the adviser market.

As part of its strategic review, Friends is to sell high-net-worth IFA firm Pantheon but will keep Sesame. Friends bought the two firms last May, paying £75m for Sesame and £33m for Pantheon.

The life office says there is still uncertainty over distribution due to the retail distribution review so it makes sense to retain Sesame. It says as a big distributor of mortgages, protection, insurance bonds and pensions, Sesame fits its strategy while Pantheon does not.

Friends says its strategy is to continue to deal through intermediaries and it is beneficial to maintain a direct interest in distribution.

Managing director of UK sales and marketing Simon Clamp says: “Lombard and Pantheon are great businesses as both are high quality and profitable but they do not fit our long-term strategy. Sesame is very much part of the intermediary value chain in the UK. It is advantageous to our understanding of the adviser market.”

Friends will maintain minority stakes in other intermediary businesses but these will be kept under review.

Seven Investment Manage-ment director Justin Urquhart Stewart says: “I wonder if they are focusing on the right businesses to continue with? It is a bit of a confused picture.”

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