M&S set to sell pensions
Thursday 20 April 1995
Initially, only a few key stores will have advisers licensed to sell financial products, although the number is likely to grow if the launch proves a success.
While M&S may train its own sales force, the administration side is likely to be carried out by another life insurance company, Equitable Life. Fund management will be contracted out. The sales force, probably about 50- strong at first, will be paid by salary alone and will receive no commission or bonuses.
The move follows extensive consumer research over two years, which showed that M&S's clients trust it to offer them financial services products. M&S believes its name can offset the public's widely-held distrust of insurance companies, reflected in a dramatic fall-off in product sales over the past year.
The industry's reaction is broadly favourable to the M&S launch. A spokesman at the Association of British Insurers, the companies' own trade body, said: "Insurers thrive on competition. This has always been the case and we have had new entrants coming into the market over the past few years.
"The thing M&S have got going for them is their user-friendly name. As far as we are concerned, anything which helps the public take more notice of life insurance or pensions issues must be welcomed."
M&S moved into financial services in 1984. It has more than 3 million charge-card holders, who account for 20 per cent of M&S sales. It is an authorised bank and began making personal loans in 1988. There are now 145,00 loan accounts with an average loan of £2,400. In 1993, financial services contributed £24m to the group's pre-tax profits.
The company already sells two unit trusts, launched in 1989, which can be placed in a tax-free personal equity plan wrapper. About 80,000 savers have more than £200m invested. Different parts of the portfolios are invested by separate fund managers, including BZW, Baillie Gifford and Robert Fleming.
However, perhaps because of their safety-first approach, the unit trusts have been marked by lacklustre performance.
Figures compiled by The Research Department, an independent analyst, show that both the M&S funds have barely beaten the averages in each of the sectors in which they operate since 1989. The M&S UK Select fund showed gains of 50.16 per cent in the five years to April this year. The company's Investment Portfolio fund rose by 50.73 per cent over the same period.
- 1 Astrological signs are almost all wrong, as movement of moon and sun throws out zodiac
- 2 Dad eats daughter's weed brownies, thinks he's had a stroke
- 3 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...