Barclays signs up product providers

The bank will tie with Axa, Friends Provident, Legal & General, Norwich Union, Prudential and Standard Life to form its “financial planning advice service”. The service is set to launch on June 1, in tandem with the depolarisation deadline.

Jim Reeve, managing director of Barclays Financial Planning, describes the provider selection process as rigorous. “We looked at such factors as value for money, product features, financial strength, service propositions, range and aftercare for customers,” he says.

According to Reeve, the group has not yet announced which providers will be responsible for which areas of the market: “We have not yet signed detailed service agreements with the providers, but expect to make an announcement in the coming weeks.”

Barclays has announced, however, that the structure of its offering will be different to other groups that are single-tied or tied to a provider’s entire product range.

Barclays will not offer entire product ranges from all its multi-tie partners, but the best value for money products from each group, as well as bespoke products from its providers. “The adviser can now spend all their time addressing the customers’ needs, without having to worry about whether a particular company provides the best-value offering for the customer,” says Reeve.

The 750 advisers who are part of Barclays Financial Planning will begin to adopt the changes mid-year. Reeve adds that Barclays is still determining how many of its advisers will sell the new proposition. However, he says there has been a positive response from the group’s advisers so far. Barclays expects most of its advisers to be participating in the new service by the second half of the year.

Advisers who wish to offer independent advice will be given the option of joining Gerrard Financial Planning and Sedgwick Independent Financial Consultants, both of which are part of Barclays Financial Planning.

These two companies will continue to offer independent advice to customers who request it, according to the group.