Wealth management service will not purely target high net worth individuals
CGNU has launched the first phase of its planned online wealth management service, norwichunion.com.
The launch marks the market entry of CGNU into the increasingly competitive realm of online account aggregation and the initial result of a £250m investment in the programme.
Unlike recent online wealth management service launches from Merrill Lynch HSBC and Inscape, among others, Norwichunion.com will not purely be targeting high net worth individuals, something it believes will differentiate it from many of the existing players in the market.
Thomas Cowper Johnson, director of communications at Norwichunion.com, said: 'There have been a number of relatively high profile launches and most of those we have seen in the last couple of months have been targeting the so-called mass affluent. We are certainly not excluding these people but we do not have any minimum income or asset requirements.'
The service will eventually enable customers to manage all of their money and assets online, with a fund supermarket and share dealing service earmarked to follow in autumn.
An internet banking service is also due to go live later in the year, although the exact timing is yet to be confirmed.
The marketing of the service will be highly targeted, leveraging the strength of the Norwich Union brand name, rather than using expensive television advertising campaigns initially, according to Cowper Johnson.
'The marketing, both press and online, will target those who want to play a more active role in managing their money,' he added.
Customers will initially be able to access the site's interactive financial planning tools and wealth management guides, as well as company and market news provided by FT.com.
The financial planning tools vary from rough snapshots of customers' finances, such as the 60 second financial health-check, to more in-depth overviews, such as the wealth manager service, which allows customers to track their investments' performance and input their income and expenditure details, so as to be able to accurately monitor their overall financial position and net worth.
The fund supermarket and online share dealing service are expected in the third quarter this year and have been billed as phase two of norwichunion.com's development.
At launch it is believed that the fund supermarket will offer funds from 14 product providers, with only Isas being offered initially. Peps, transfers and unwrapped products are also not expected to be available at launch.
Investment trusts, as listed companies, will be available via the online share dealing service. The online trading facility will be non-advisory, with execution for the brokerage being carried out by Pershing Securities.
The service will also include a virtual portfolio option and independent company research, as well as a nominee service.
Norwich Union pension, life, health and motor insurance products will not be provided as part of the wealth management service but will be accessible via a link to the Norwich Union website. www.ifaonline.co.uk
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