Skipton Building Society is to restructure its product distribution strategy from 1 July, writes Paul Robertson.
The plan involves Skipton’s financial services distribution being taken over by IFAs Skipton Financial Services, who are wholly owned by the building society. This severs the tied arrangement the building society previously had with Norwich Union.
Mark Smitheringale, head of corporate communications at Skipton Building Society, said: ‘This stems from the fact we believe the market is changing and as customers are becoming more sophisticated they start looking at a broader range of products. We feel that acting as IFAs gives us more opportunities. Also, as we already had an IFA business in place, it was a logical move. We have had no fall out or issues with Norwich Union ‘ they will do as much, if not more, business with us as an IFA than they would have done as tied agents.’
The society will also be strengthening its team of intermediary sales managers to service the mortgage intermediary market. This comes as a result of the decision to specialise the society’s branch managers. Until now they have effectively been filling three roles, acting as managers of the branches, as tied financial advisers selling Norwich Union products and as mortgage business developers. These jobs will now be separated.
Smitheringale said: ‘Due to demands from consumers, intermediaries and increasing market-place regulation, it makes sense to specialise people into those areas. We still need and want a branch manager in each branch, but they need not do everything and can focus on their strengths.’