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Sloc salesforce speculation simmers

Speculation is mounting over the future of Sun Life of Canada&#39s tied

salesforce as the life office sets out a plan to keep it.

Sloc is offering its tied salesforce the choice of becoming salaried

employees, Dunbar-style franchisees or remaining tied.

But Toronto-based Merrill Lynch analyst Brad Smith believes the Canadian

parent&#39s recent disbanding of its salesforce could set a precedent.

The prospectus for the recent demutualisation of the parent company says

it will consider selling off parts of the business which do not give

shareholder value. It points out that several UK lines are operating at a

loss in a competitive marketplace.

The UK office has been haemorrhaging staff, with 400 out of 1,230 sales

staff leaving in the last two years.

The prospectus says: “The company intends to divest businesses that do not

achieve an adequate level of shareholder return within a prescribed

timeframe or are unlikely to achieve a significant market share.”

Smith says: “The Canadian move to disband its salesforce could set the

precedent.”

Cazalet Financial Consulting analyst Ned Cazalet says: “There is nothing

Sloc can do despite the efforts of the new management. It was surprising to

see the parent float with the UK arm attached.”

Sloc press officer Paul Riddell says: “We are focused on retaining our

sales staff but I do not think any company could rule out a sale of its

operation in the present climate.”

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