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Virgin targets the &#39forgotten&#39 GPP market

IFAs&#39 share of the stakeholder market is being threatened by the entry of

Virgin Direct into the lucrative group personal pension market.

Virgin claims employers are the forgotten customers and have been

neglected by intermediaries and pension scheme providers, a claim angrily

denied by IFAs.

Virgin&#39s new service will be an internet-based pension operation free to


The company says it is responding to demand from employers looking for a

“genuine stakeholder”.

It says many employers facing the 3 per cent opt-out will stick with or

choose to take out high-charging outdated GPP schemes which do not offer

the same value for money as the proposed stakeholder schemes.

Virgin says its key audience is “get-up and go” small to medium-sized


The company says it is committed to bringing a human touch to managing

workplace pensions.

But IFAs are outraged at Virgin&#39s allegations that they have not been

servicing their corporate clients.

Maddison Monetary Management managing director Mark Howard says:

“Employers are not the forgotten customers. That is absolute hogwash.

Virgin might have mill- ions but it is a mistake to start off in the market

by slagging off the competition.

“There is enough room for everyone. Virgin needs to get off their pedestal

although they are right that the internet will be the most cost-effective

way of offering stakeholder.”

Wentworth Rose Independent managing director Phi- lip Rose says: “Virgin

has scratched around for a sales message. It is a very strange statement

when it is indep-endent advisers who have really pushed the GPP market


l Britannic Assurance is recruiting 40 corporate consultants in

preparation for its entry into the stakeholder market. It is also planning

a major marketing campaign targeting companies with between five and 50



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