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‘We are open for business’: Sesame hits back at market rumours

Sesame Bankhall Group has declared itself “open for business” after recent speculation it could be sold or wound down by Friends Life.

In an email sent to members this week, seen by Money Marketing, SBG executive chairman John Cowan refused to comment on market speculation.

He told members SBG is a broad-based network with appointed representatives at Sesame and directly authorised advisers at PMS and Bankhall.

He said there were 750 applications to join Sesame last year leading to more than 500 authorisations. The number of leavers was not revealed.

Although Sesame is forcing all ARs to become restricted it says it will help the transition to directly authorised if advisers want to stay independent.

Cowan writes: “For the avoidance of any doubt, Sesame is very much open for business and we continue to seek out quality advisers to come and join us.

“For those who choose to be directly authorised, you are most welcome and we will do all that we can to assist you.”

SBG has had a tumultuous few months after announcing it was ditching its IFA status last year, followed by the departure of chief executive George Higginson in January as part of a management shake-up.

Friends Life has been trying to sell the SBG business for over a year, with mortgage giants Countrywide and LSL Property Services thought to have signalled an interest.

Worldwide Financial Planning IFA Nick McBreen says: “It has been difficult for networks and it will continue to be so. 

“There are more challenges to come, be it platform charges or the end of trail so Sesame needs to get in good shape.”

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