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Wesleyan widens business to IFAs

Wesleyan Assurance is entering the broader IFA market offering its with-profits and unit-linked investment products to a select group of IFAs.

The move will see the life office, which has traditionally distributed its products direct or through its own medical specialist IFA business, sell its funds through up to 10 national IFAs.

The accounts will be supported by a team of phone-based relationship managers.

The products will offer a menu of initial and fund-based commission which Wesleyan says can be adapted for IFAs which charge fees.

In the longer term, distribution could be extended to building societies and potentially gap-filling for other life offices, taking advantage of depolarisation.

It will look at working with former IFAs which have set up or converted to multi-ties as these develop.

Wesleyan will also launch new investment products, with the first planned for next month.

The firm says it is seeking to link with IFA businesses which are prepared to invest in a partnership for the longer term while the amount of business it intends to do will partly depend on managing its financial strength and liabilities. It will also aim to maintain the best levels of service by dealing with a limited number of IFAs.

Wesleyan is optimistic that its number one position on financial strength will make it a popular choice with IFAs. Its with-profits realistic free-asset ratio stands at 26.5 per cent and its rating from Cazalet Consulting stands at 10 out of 10.

It also points out that it was not forced to sell off equities during the extremes of the bear market while bigger offices had to sell.

The target market will be more conservative investors regardless of income. It says IFAs are still looking to with profits to make up some part of a diversified investment portfolio.

Wesleyan head of partnership development Richard Sheret says: “We want to work with intermediaries who want to work together on service in a partnership of equals rather as simply a buyer/supplier one.”

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