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St James&#39s Place picks panel of five protection firms

St James&#39s Place is to tie to five of the UK leading protection firms ahead of plans to expand multi-tie relationships after of depolarisation later this year.

The move will create a panel of five leading protection firms – Bupa, Norwich Union, Prudential, Scottish Equitable and Scottish Provident – for the company&#39s advisers.

The deal comes after disappointing new business figures for St James&#39s Place, which saw another 22 per cent fall in new business to £82.5m last year from £110.3m in 2001 in equivalent premium income.

The firm says recruitment to its salesforce slowed in 2002, which it blames on IFAs waiting to see the outcome of the FSA review of polarisation. The tied wealth management group is part-owned by HBOS and has 1,100 advisers.

St James&#39s Place chairman Sir Mark Weinberg says: “When the changes in the polarisation rules are implemented, it is our intention to extend this approach beyond the field of term protection. This is consistent with the approach we have for our investment business where we contract out the management of our funds.”

NU sales and marketing director Peter Hales says: “We look forward to developing our relationship further with St James&#39s Place.”

Abbey National for Intermediaries sales and marketing director Ambrose McGinn says: ” The strat-egic alliance between St James&#39s Place and Scottish Provident will deliver real benefits for our customers.”

The Abacus director Philip Martin says: “Many of the smaller tied salesforces are taking the sensible decision to stop manufacturing and to buy in product ranges. It is interesting to see which providers are jockeying for position and which are first out of the blocks.”

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