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Skandia slashes Bankhall value

Bankhall is now valued at just 25m after Skandia wrote down 82m following a writedown of 70m last December,

The new move fuels industry speculation that Skandia is poised to sell the loss-making support service organisation.

Skandia paid 145.8m for an 81 per cent stake in the business in 2002, valuing Bankhall at 180m, and claims this figure was justified because of the need to insure against uncertainty over depolarisation.

It says the acquisition was the right strategic move because of the distribution links that it secured with the IFA community. Earlier this month, it bought 7 per cent stakes from former joint chief exec- utives Paul Hogarth and Simon Taylor. Norwich Union holds 5 per cent. Old Mutual is in talks to buy Skandia.

Skandia is adamant that it has no plans to sell Bankhall.

Bankhall made a loss of 1.3m in the first half of this year and its business model is being reviewed, which has been demonstrated by the closure of network ISL and streamlining its business operation toward a “more profitable business plan” under newly appointed chief executive Peter Mann.

Skandia UK managing director Nick Poyntz-Wright says: “Put into context, the entire industry knew depolarisation was looming and we were all wondering what to expect, thinking IFAs would be forced to completely change their ways. People talk about overpaying or the benefits of hindsight but I maintain this was the right decision to take. We have benefited from the course taken, insulating ourselves against the changes follow- ing depolarisation.”

Wilson Dean Financial Services director Nick Lincoln says: “The management changes and sale speculation have not affected me as a member at all. It is such a light-touch relationship with Bankhall.”

Bankhall declined to comment on the matter.

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