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Turn to your Friends for a Resolution

The boards of Resolution and Friends Provident have announced this morning that they are recommending Resolution’s latest acquisition offer to shareholders.

This morning, Resolution and Friends Prov announced they are recommending Resolution’s £1.86bn acquisition offer to shareholders.

Direct Life and Pensions Lifequote key accounts manager Phil Jeynes says the acquisition won’t have any immediate effect on the protection market.

He says: “I’m not worried about the impact this may have on advisers or consumers as there will remain a number of strong and diverse brands.”

Unleash Advice Partnership IFA Adrian Kidd says the move will not restrict choice as the Friends brand is a strong name in the market therefore it will remain as such.

He says: “If they acquire other firms that obviously would restrict choice but for now, nothing changes in my opinion.”

Lifesearch senior policy adviser Matt Morris says both companies are two “very good” brands so protection will be in safe hands.

But, he adds: “As an IFA the more choice you have the better and consolidation per se can reduce that choice. However, clearly they feel this is the right decision for their businesses and they both have very good track records in protection so I am hopeful it will turn out to be a positive for the industry.”

Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey says: “Friends Provident has lost much of its lustre in recent years and appears to be adrift on the waters. Hopefully, Resolution will recapitalise Friends so that they can return to their former glory.”

Progress IFA marketing manager Aidan Dewhurst says the deal certainly marks a statement of intent from Resolution with consolidation and restructure of Life offices a clear objective.

He says: “At this stage it’s difficult to know what the full impact on the protection industry will be. It could be great in terms of awareness – a new focus and approach may give us all something to think about. Chances are we will end up with a new supersized company in the long run that could become a big influence on the industry and really shake things up. Plus, any restructures will inevitably have an impact on end customers, so it will be interesting to watch their approach.”

Aviva protection director Richard Verdin says clearly there are “big” implications for Friends, but he adds: “I can’t see any implications at all for the protection market.”

LV= head of protection Chris McFarlane says after Friends’ recent challenges, this deal seems like a sensible move for them. While Pacific Life Re head of protection Alex King says providing Friends is allowed to use new potential capital to further develop its proposition, it is likely the acquisition will enhance Friends’ position in the protection market.

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