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Virgin is back on the attack against advisers

Virgin chief Richard Branson’s strategy of attacking intermediaries over comm- ission is rearing its head again in Aus- tralia with the company launching a pension product.

The Virgin group is attacking Australian IFAs for being “greedy and self-interested” in an article in an Australian intermediary trade newspaper.

London-based Virgin Money group brand and corporate affairs director Tony Wood says the present Australian financial services market is reminiscent of the UK in the late 1990s.

In the article, Virgin says Australian consumers are “duped by financial planners who pretend to provide impartial advice when in reality they are on the payrolls of the super funds”.

Wood defends the statement, saying this communication strategy is suitable in Australia although it will not be reviving the tactic in the UK.

He says: “This does not signal a change in tack in the UK. Our style of commu- nication has shifted towards the benefits of direct rather than focusing on the negatives of intermediaries, which is no longer suitable.

“Virgin does not have a consistent brand strategy across international territories. We work according to what is suitable in each market. We make no apologies for this approach, as it is suitable for Australia, but it is in no way indicative of a changing UK strategy.”

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