Lincoln Financial Group is looking for opportunities in the high net worth market above and beyond its current provision.
Presently, the proposition of the brand offering to UK intermediaries consists of a whole of life product, a unit-linked bond and unit trusts and Isas.
Ian Noble, head of strategic partnerships, says following a massive shift from a direct sales to an intermediary distribution model, the company is now ready for a step up in terms of its market presence.
“We are actively pursuing opportunities,” Noble says about the company’s attitude both towards the products currently dominating its business and those for which it is not currently known.
However, he does not specify further what those opportunities may be, such as growth of the product range coming organically or through acquisition. The overall target remains advice-based protection sales, although the mortgage market is currently not being considered.
Noble stresses Lincoln traditionally has not blazed a trail into new sectors. For example, it did not leap into the pension term assurance (PTA) market this year as it saw little benefit regarding its own or its customers’ positions.
That said, it is also a case of “never say never”, Noble adds.
Noble believes the income protection market is an area being under-represented by the market.
“Most of us will earn £1m over our lifetimes, but how many of us actually protect that income?”
TCF is another factor that will determine the development of the Lincoln proposition. Noble says this should be seen as a possible differentiator and route to take to improve business opportunities.
Issues such as service levels are seen as key in the high net worth market of 40-70-year-olds Lincoln targets - although customer satisfaction levels should not be confused with benchmarking TCF adoption through organisations, Noble warns.
Portal distribution is another important factor, and TCF will play its part here too, Noble believes, meaning until the FSA starts fining either providers or intermediaries on TCF matters after the regime comes into force next March, it is difficult to know exactly where the regulatory line is drawn in all instances.
This is why the firm is so keen to ensure “everyone from the tea lady to the chairman are aware of the implications.”
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