Friends Provident joins rush to India

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The Independent Online

Friends Provident is planning to outsource 100 new jobs at the company to India and warned that existing UK jobs may be threatened in the future.

Like rival insurers, Friends is battling to reduce costs in the face of stockmarket falls and Government price controls.

Ben Gunn, managing director of Friends' life and pension business, said: "The jobs in India are to increase capacity in addition to what we have in Britain. No UK jobs are affected by the current plans. But there is a possibility that if the move is successful, it may have an impact on UK jobs in the future."

In a separate move, the company yesterday made a commitment to keep its final-salary pension scheme open to existing and new staff in the UK.

Friends took a holiday from pension contributions four years ago. Now faced with a £14m deficit, it will start paying 13 per cent of salary into the scheme - about £13m a year. Staff will be asked for contributions of 1 per cent.