A team of 12 former direct salespeople from Sun Life Financial of Canada have set up a new IFA firm and joined the Berkeley Independent IFA network.
Sterling Independent Financial Services has been established in Albrighton, near Wolverhampton, by SLFOC's former business centre manager for the North Midlands Stephen Oliver and Wolverhampton location manager Mark Leighton.
Oliver had been with the life office for 15 years and Leighton for nine years.
In mid-February, they were notified that SLFOC was disbanding its salesforce and decided to move to the IFA sector after discussions with several networks and attending a Berkeley Independent open day.
Sterling Independent has completed a two-day induction course including compliance testing at Berkeley and is awaiting PIA approval with the aim of beginning trading on May 1.
Berkeley Independent is aiming to double membership to over 800 from 465 in the next 18 months, primarily by targeting direct salesforces. This year, it has approved 35 former direct salespeople and is processing applications from 70, mainly from SLFOC, Prudential and Britannic.
Berkeley Independent head of marketing Sally Reeves says: “Ex-direct salespeople tend to be disciplined and have good compliance training.”