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Zifa outperforms as Zurich sales edge up and Zan business drops

Zurich Financial Services saw only a small rise in new business last year, blaming “difficult” market conditions which caused sales by its advice network to fall.

Total life and investment premiums were up by 3 per cent last year to £3.8bn in equivalent premium income from £3.7bn in 2000. Its IFA group Zifa had a 12 per cent rise in sales to £212m from £189m.

It also had growth in the UK pension market as its business rose by 10 per cent to £224m from £203m.

But Zurich&#39s advice network Zan, formerly Allied Dunbar, suffered a drop in business to £287m from £304m. Life business chief executive Ray Greenshields blames the fall on lower unit-linked investment sales and the demise of the mortgage endowment market, which Zurich pulled out of late last year.

Greenshields also concedes that Zurich&#39s retraining exercise, which took all its advisers out of action for various periods last year, had an impact on the fall in sales.

He says: “For Zurich, this was a year of transformation in the UK. We reorganised our business to ensure that Zurich is fully focused on the customer and implemented significant cost savings across all our operations.

“Whatever the shape of the market following consultation on the FSA&#39s proposed polarisation reforms, we have the distribution, customer focus and financial strength to grow our business in the future.”

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