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Zurich says it’s not entering the wrap race

Zurich has ruled itself out of the wrap race, saying it sees better value investing in its extranet and developing links with external platforms and portals.

Zurich Intermediary Group has been monitoring the wrap market since 2000 and believes only 15 per cent of advisers will adopt a full wrap by 2008, with 60 per cent preferring to use a combination of fund supermarkets, portals and provider extranets.

Managing director Chris Gillies says he does not expect adviser take-up of provider-owned wraps to be strong in the long term.

Gillies says that as with the advent of multi-tie, which most advisers shunned to remain independent, he expects most advisers to reject provider-owned wraps so they can access a range of pension and bond providers.

He says Zurich is in discussions with independent-owned platforms, such as Nucleus and Ascentric, about making its range of products available to their users. It is also developing its extranet to enable advisers to trans-act online through it and investing heavily in ensuring its links with advisers’ diff-erent back office systems are seamless.

Gillies says: “We expect most advisers to use a hybrid model, using technology to cut costs but not adopting full wrap because their clients do not want to pay fees. Zurich will not build its own platform but forge links with independent platforms and rebuilding our extranet.”

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