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Virgin can teach AMP new tricks

One of the AMP&#39s most ambitious strategies as part of its effort to become a truly global player is its big investment in Richard Branson&#39s Virgin brand.

AMP has six million customers, £50bn under management and makes more than £1bn a year profit yet it saw a future in making an alliance with a minion in the financial services industry.

Virgin Direct has 200,000 customers with £1bn invested. That is after starting from scratch just two years ago and AMP&#39s executives have obviously taken note.

AMP has a half-share in Virgin Direct, adding to its other UK investments, Pearl Assurance and London Life.

AMP provides the capital for growth under a joint venture deal with Branson, which trades his marketing prowess with AMP&#39s technical ability to produce financial products.

On top of that, AMP also owns the worldwide rights to use the Virgin name for financial services – clearly seeing the ability of this brand to tap into a generation which traditional sales methods struggle to reach.

The life insurer has had similar success with its independent foray in retail banking in Australia, Priority One.

Offering phone banking and very competitive rates, particularly in the mortgage sector, Priority One has successfully carved out a slice of the market during its brief existence to become a key part of AMP Financial Services.

AMP also has big interests in more traditional areas in Australia and New Zealand.

It has a general insurance division, £50bn under management and 500,000 superann- uating clients.

Its pastoral company, Stabroke, has huge property holdings in the country&#39s northern cattle-grazing areas.

AMP&#39s other big international operation is PT AMP Panin Life, an Indonesian joint venture which is the biggest South-east Asian investment in financial services by an Australian company.


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