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Troubled history of the poorer cousin

The UK life arm of Royal & Sun Alliance has had a troubled existence since its creation six years ago through the merger of Royal Insurance and Sun Alliance, having always been the poorer cousin of the general insurance arm. Below, Money Marketing details some of the key point in its brief history.

1996

Royal & Sun Alliance is created from the £6.3bn merger of Royal Insurance and Sun Alliance. There is outcry as 5,000 jobs are lost as the two firms merge. The combined company has £45bn in assets under management.

1997

R&SA fined £225,000 for pension misselling by the PIA and ordered to pay legal costs.

1998

Sells tied and direct salesforce to Countrywide in a £5m deal and R&SA instead announces its focus on IFA distribution.

2000

In January, R&SA stops selling endowment policies.2001

In June, launches new direct online brand More>Than as a separate business.

In December, R&SA closes to new with-profits business after mismatch between its two main funds (Royal Life Insurance and Sun Alliance & London Assurance) and the revelation that its guaranteed annuity rate liabilities are much higher than first thought, topping £1bn. Abandons attempt to find a buyer for the life business.

2002

In April, announces the sale of the successful R&SA Investment Management brand to Friends Ivory & Sime.

In July, sells group risk business to Canada Life for £60m.

Also decides to close Dublin operation R&SA Eurolife after no buyer is found.

On August 6, announces the completion of sale of R&SA International Financial Services to Friends Provident.

On August 8, chief executive Bob Mendelsohn announces closure of life operation to new business with the loss of 1,200 jobs to pursue a strategy concentrating solely on general insurance.

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