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Zurich bids to topple NU from mutual slot

Zurich Financial Services is on a drive to tie with building societies and knock Norwich Union from its position as the most popular life office partner for mutuals.

Last month, Zurich formed a tied relationship with Market Harborough, its first agreement in the sector, which will see the society sell Threadneedle Isas and Oeics and Zurich&#39s life insurance, critical-illness insurance and pensions from July 1. Zurich says other deals are in the offing.

This ends Market Harborough&#39s tie with NU on the life side and its three advisers working in the society&#39s branches will be deployed in other areas. They will be replaced by a team of up to nine Zurich advisers. But Market Harborough will continue to sell NU&#39s general insurance products.

This deal and Skipton&#39s ann-ouncement in February that it is breaking its tie with NU to take the IFA route cuts the number of societies tied to the life office to 20.

Zurich spokeswoman Rosemary Callender says: “We have made no secret of the fact that we are talking to building societies to form tied relationships which is a good way of getting our products on the high street. We have had a significant amount of interest and hope to sign more deals over the next few years.”

NU spokesman James Evans says: “We are disappointed to lose Skipton and Market Harborough but this remains a key sector for us and we have a dedicated marketing team supporting it.”

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