US insurance giant MetLife is to enter the UK market with a range of products to rival its major American competitor, the Hartford.
The Hartford launched into the UK last April with its unit-linked investment bond, Hartford Gold and, in time to unveil its proposition exactly a year later, MetLife is now building partnerships for investment bond, potentially on and offshore, personal pension and Sipp wrappers of its own.
Although the Hartford has pledged to offer further long-term savings vehicles in the UK, Hartford Gold is its only product so far. The model being adopted by MetLife is expected to be broadly similar.
MetLife intends to build a limited panel of around 40 funds supplied by between six and 10 groups, which will link to all its wrappers.
Like the Hartford, which has links to funds from Barclays, Fidelity, Invesco Perpetual, New Star and Schroders, MetLife has been in talks with large groups such as Investec, Fidelity, Jupiter and New Star with the intention of creating links to a few products from each.
It also plans to offer products from smaller UK firms, such as Liontrust. MetLife will work alongside US research company Morningstar when building the core list of funds.
Again, as with the Hartford product, investors will be able to make their own asset allocation decisions when picking between the underlying funds or choose from pre-constructed portfolios that have differing risk profiles. The group intends to establish an administration business in Dublin.
To raise its profile, MetLife has hired Mike Phillips, former head of distribution at AIG, to build a sales team.
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