Sesame Bankhall Group will no longer operate as a network for investment advisers as part of a fundamental overhaul of the business.
There has been uncertainty over SBG’s future since February 2013, when Money Marketing reported it had been put up for sale. SBG later confirmed it was carrying out a strategic review of the business.
Over two years since that work started, and after shareholders backed Aviva’s takeover deal of Friends Life last week, SBG has reached a decision on the advice firm’s future.
In an update on its strategic review, published today, SBG says it will retain its mortgage arm, which will include the PMS mortgage club and a network for mortgage firms. This will represent around 25 per cent of UK intermediated mortgage lending.
Under the new structure, the network for investment advisers will cease to exist. Appointed representative members will have to choose between going directly authorised as part of Bankhall, or moving to a new “network partner”. SBG is in talks with a network about taking on Sesame ARs, but has not disclosed which distributor this is.
Advice firms that do not want to move to either Bankhall or the network partner will have to leave SBG.
Executive chairman John Cowan says: “Our future plans mean we will develop our growing Bankhall business and we will continue to grow our mortgage business, including our AR network option for mortgage firms.
“However, we will no longer offer an AR network option for wealth firms. Wealth firms currently in our network will be given time to become DA with the support of Bankhall. Alternatively, as part of our commitment to offer choice, firms preferring to remain as ARs will be able to move to a new network partner. We are in talks with another advisory group to help facilitate a smooth transition for those firms who would prefer this route.”
It is expected that more details will be announced before the end of April, including the identity of the network partner.
Friends Life group chief executive Andy Briggs, who will become chief executive of the enlarged Aviva/Friends UK & Ireland life business, says: “The SBG leadership team is well-placed to continue to deliver improvements to the business and further strengthen it for the future.
“By building on the work already done to put the business on a strong footing, I am confident these further initiatives will contribute to developing a successful, profitable and attractive business building on the established strengths in the mortgage business and Bankhall.”