SANDY CROMBIE, chief executive of Standard Life, yesterday claimed it was "patently obvious" many of the group's policyholders "had no idea how their products worked", reports The Scotsman .
According to the paper, Crombie - who wants one million members to vote for the group's planned demutualisation next month - said he had learned from his roadshows around the UK that customers continued to feel hurt by lower returns, and had been unaware of "the risks to which [the products] were exposed".
But rather than blaming the consumer, he admitted "some or all" of "poor selling practices, poor product design and ineffective risk controls" by the industry should be held responsible.
Crombie was speaking at a conference entitled Rethinking Life Insurance - The Business Future, and addressed the many challenges he said the industry faced to win back customer trust as well as credibility in the City.
PRUDENTIAL SAID it would close three of its UK offices, in Belfast, Bristol and Holborn in London, shifting 700 jobs to other locations within the UK and to its office in Mumbai, India, reports The Financial Times.
A spokesman for Prudential said on Wednesday the customer services jobs from its Belfast office, about two thirds of the 500 jobs based there, would move to existing sites in Derby and Sterling.
The remaining third, about 165 back office roles, could go to India. Prudential’s customer services centre in Mumbai already employs more than 1,100 people.
The move comes as part of the £40m cost savings drive announced by the UK’s second largest life assurer last December when it bought the 21.7% of Egg, the internet bank, it did not already own.
At the time, Prudential said it expected cost savings to result from co-ordination of customer service, IT and marketing as well as the elimination of Egg’s separate listing and cuts in combined project and development spending.
The closure of the three offices would save about £4m in property costs alone, said the spokesman, or 10% of the total targeted cost cuts. “Some of these employees may choose not to relocate within the company,” said Prudential in a statement. “There is no possibility of any compulsory redundancies as a result of this announcement until the end of 2006.”
The Belfast office will close by the end of next year, while the human resources office in Bristol, employing 40, will close by April 2007. Egg will lose its head office in Holborn Bars, London and the 135 staff will be relocated to other London offices.
THE GOVERNMENT’S unfunded public sector pension liabilities have risen by £70bn in the space of a year to £530bn, it emerged yesterday, as the new figures were posted on the Treasury's website following a freedom of information request, reports The Guardian.
The department said future pensions owed to millions of health workers, teachers, civil servants, police officers, firefighters and others totalled £460bn at the end of March 2004, and had risen to £530bn by March 31 last year.
The Treasury said most of the increase was attributable to "accounting effects", while some experts have claimed the true total is much higher.
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