Standard Life has cut 360 jobs from its direct salesforce and is closing 10 branch closures as part of a radical restructuring programme.
The jobs will go from its direct-sales division, reducing the number of staff across the UK from 630 to around 270. The number of direct branch locations will be reduced from 21 to 11 branches in Belfast, Chester, Colchester, Dundee, Leicester, London West End, Maidstone, Newcastle, Sheffield and Southampton will all close.
The cuts follow several bonus cuts for Standard policyholders but are believed to be unconnected to the company's strategic review. The changes are thought to be part of a broader move to change the company's salesforce which began last August when Standard axed 200 posts from call centres and offices across the UK.
Standard has pledged its commitment to direct-sales business. It plans to develop its direct sales by concentrating on selling simple products over the phone and maximising the potential of existing group pension schemes.
The direct customer division will be split into three business units – telesales, corporate account management and direct client management. The businesses will be known as Standard Life Direct.
Sales managing director Nathan Parnaby has moved to allay fears that the firm plans to abandon its direct salesforce entirely. He says: “By having three dedicated direct business units, each with a focus on efficient sales growth in their respective markets our aim is to secure the future of our direct sales operations.
“As cost-effective businesses, these operations will require fewer employees. The company will ensure those staff facing redundancy will receive support and assistance in finding alternative employment.”