Think wealth, think wire

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It may seem that buying insurance, investments, pensions and other financial products by telephone has been available for years. Yet prior to 1985, hardly any financial services were available by phone. Instead, meetings had to be set up with a bank manager, insurance broker, salesperson or other adviser.

Now we can purchase many of these products from the comfort of our home. And for those of us who have a home computer and a modem, we can use them to buy motor and household insurance. Very soon, Eagle Star Direct plans to offer its personal pensions over the Internet.

Costs have been cut and charges slashed by the direct providers. Instead of having offices all over the country employing hundreds of salespeople and back up staff, by using sophisticated computers at just one location manned by advisers and operators at the other end of the phone, customers get a much better deal.

And we like what the direct providers offer. So much so, that in some areas, such as car insurance, the largest companies are those which sell directly to the public. On the following pages some of the financial products now available over the telephone are considered, and how using them can provide substantial savings. - Tony Lyons