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Small group of life and pension firms leading e-business drive

An increase in e-business activity is being led by a small group of life and pension providers which are surging ahead of the rest of the market, according to research from technology provider Focus Solutions Group.

Focus questioned companies representing around 70 per cent of the life and pension marketplace on their electronic trading activity last year.

Director of market propositions Nigel Smith says the results show that a small group of companies have significantly increased the amount of business they do electronically in the last 12 months.

The figures show an increase in the volume of e-transactions per organisation of between 1 per cent and 90 per cent in 2003 compared with between 1 per cent and 15 per cent in 2002. One in every six new business transactions was processed electronically last year compared with one in every 27 in 2002.

The companies carrying out the most e-business say they have tried new electronic trading systems through their tied and direct-sales routes and following good results, they extended the systems to IFA channels.

Focus started researching the life and pension market in 2001. Based on its initial qualitative and quantitative research, it established a quotient figure of 100.

It has analysed growth and development in e-trade for the last three years and says from this benchmark, the market has improved to 601.

Roberts Clarke partner Ashley Clarke says: “These results do not surprise me. I expect to see four or five out of six transactions done online in the future.

“Some of the providers may have pioneered e-business but there is a danger that these companies will now be dealing with legacy systems they need to rebuild to meet the most recent Origo standards.”

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