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Wells Street Journal: Aviva goes AWOL

There was a time when Aviva spokespeople could be found gracing the pages of the trade and national press, but in recent months sightings of key commentators have become as rare as an interesting ABI press release.

As Budget day and the prospect of a second hand annuity market approached, the firm shut up shop and issued a short blanket statement ahead of the pensions industry’s biggest story.

Hacks at WSJ sister title Money Marketing say this could be down to the company’s new draconian public relations policy, which keeps the likes of pensions policy lead John Lawson under lock and key.

Pre-booked phone calls with Aviva’s bods and wonks are monitored by press officers on mute, silently stifling normally free-flowing conversation.

When asked why their presence was necessary, a member of the press team said calls had to be constantly monitored in case the firm was audited. Bosses at other life companies – none of which come close to matching Aviva’s strict set of rules – will want to take note. Do they realise their lack of press security is putting them at risk from regulators?

Aviva’s acquisition of Friends Life is set to create the UK’s largest life company, but will its influence be stunted by gagged spokespeople?



Former Towergate chief Ian Darby returns as £8.6m deal completes

Former Towergate Financial chief executive Ian Darby is returning to the firm as executive chairman following the firm’s acquisition by Palatine Private Equity. The deal, which was announced earlier this month and completed today, sees PPE acquire broker John Charcol and TF Financial Planning from Towergate for £8.6m.  TF Financial will be rebranded in the […]


Is India the jewel in the emerging market crown?

While the respective developing market powerhouses of Russia, China and Brazil are enduring their own sets of economic woes, optimism over India being the real jewel in the emerging market crown is firmly on the rise. A pro-growth Budget unveiled at the end of February, the first from the Narendra Modi-led BJP party, was swiftly […]

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FCA fines and bans directors of Sipp advice firm

The FCA has banned two former directors of advice firm TailorMade Independent, which advised clients to invest over £110m in unregulated investments.  Lloyd Pope has been fined £93,800 and Peter Legerton would have been fined £84,000 if it were not for his financial position.  TailorMade gave advice on transferring pensions into unregulated investments such as […]


Govt to exempt AVCs from pension charge cap

Additional voluntary contribution schemes where members have made a choice about investments will not be subject to the 0.75 per cent charge cap on auto-enrolment schemes. The Department for Work and Pensions plans to amend rules that would have meant AVCs used within qualifying schemes where members do not make an investment choice would have […]


Best of both worlds: Blending active and passive

Looking to blend active and passive investment strategies? There are four key factors you need to know about, explains Ankul Daga, senior investment strategist with Vanguard Europe. Discussing the merits of active and passive investing with financial advisers, I am often surprised to discover how many are blending active and passive funds in their portfolios. […]


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