N&P and Aviva in talks over financial advice tie-up

By SAM WILLIAMS, Senior business writer
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
4:32 PM

Financial advisors at Norwich and Peterborough Building Society could become tied agents for Aviva under proposals between the two firms.

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The parties have confirmed they are in “advanced talks” over a deal which would see N&P’s 21 financial advisors sell and advise on Aviva products.

A review at N&P is currently under way, and while a decision is not expected until later in January sources close to the negotiations say approval is likely.

The move comes ahead of changes in financial advice regulation under the government’s Retail Distribution Review (RDR), which is expected to increase the cost and complexity of financial advice provision.

N&P’s financial advisers have come under fire recently after advising thousands of the society’s members to invest a total of £50m in finance firm Keydata, which collapsed in June 2009, which has seen the society face a class action from policyholders and a possible fine by regulator the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

But the controversy is not believed to be a reason for the move.

Aviva - Norwich’s biggest private sector employer - already has tied financial advisors at number of banks and building societies, including Principality Building Society.

A statement from N&P said: “We are reviewing the provision of independent financial advice in our branches.

“The review, which is due to be completed by the end of January, is being carried out against a backdrop of the FSA’s own industry review into the provision of financial advice for retail investments.

“The retail distribution review is likely to bring about significant changes to the regulatory framework surrounding how financial advice is offered in the near future, including an expected increase in the complexity and cost of providing this advice as a result of the RDR.”

An Aviva spokesman added: “I can confirm Aviva is negotiating with N&P to give the society’s customers financial advice.

“We already have financial advisers with a number of leading banks and building societies. It is a model we know very well which works very well for us and our customers.

“The talks are advanced.”

Earlier in the week N&P chief executive Matthew Bullock, 61, announced his retirement after 12 years when a successor is found.

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