N&P in talks with Aviva over tied advice deal

Aviva is in advanced talks with Norwich & Peterborough Building Society (N&PBS) over a move that would see N&P IFAs becoming tied agents for the provider.

The agreement is likely to be structured in a similar way to existing partnerships with groups like Principality Building Society, where branch advisers distribute Aviva products.

Norwich & Peterborough’s 21 independent financial advisers would become tied Aviva agents, advising clients on Aviva’s product range, under the proposals. N&P’s IFAs were previously tied to Norwich Union before becoming IFAs in 2005.

The advisers have been under fire as the firm has admitted it could face liabilities as high as £50m over its advice to thousands of clients to invest in Keydata products. N&PBS is also facing a possible class action of up to 400 Financial Ombudsman Service complaints over Keydata. (article continues below)

Earlier today, Matthew Bullock, the chief executive of N&PBS, announced he was retiring from the firm.

A statement from Aviva says: “We are negotiating with Norwich & Peterborough Building Society to offer the society’s customers financial advice. Aviva already has a successful partnership strategy with many banks and building societies. Our talks with N&P are advanced.”

A statement from N&PBS says the group “is reviewing the provision of independent financial advice in its branches”.

It says: “The review, which is due to be completed by the end of January, is being carried out against a backdrop of the Financial Service Authority’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.”