Scottish Widows is to re-enter the IFA annuity and protection markets after a review of its intermediary strategy.
Widows has also decided to leave the offshore bond market as it is no longer core to the firm’s investment offering. Clerical Medical International will close to new business from March 30. A Widows spokesman says there will be around 10 job losses at CMI’s Isle of Man base but refuses to say if CMI will be sold off.
It will not confirm which annuity and protection products it plans to launch at this stage.
Lloyds Banking Group director of insurance Toby Strauss says: “The IFA market is a core channel for us and we will be working closely with IFAs to ensure we not only create a new and enhanced product offering but also deliver these in a way that caters for their needs.
“With people living longer and rapid growth in demand for annuities, we feel this is the right time to signal our move into this market.
With a protection gap in excess of £2trn, there is already a substantial customer need for life insurance in the UK.”
Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planners managing director Robert Reid says: “I think Widows will reactivate its investment-linked annuities and focus primarily on those products. I would not be surprised if it also looks to bring forward something in the enhanced annuity area.
I think the only sensible thing for Widows to do with CMI is sell it off.”
Worldwide Financial Planning IFA Nick McBreen says: “I expect Widows to launch some sort of flexible annuity product to sweep up the growing market for small pension pots.”