A key member of the new management team overseeing Bright Grey and Scottish Provident has admitted branding difficulties may arise as the former prepares to launch a new product.
Roger Edwards, who has been named proposition director in the set up, says it will be "interesting" to see how the team "might play" with the brands when either next goes to market.
Edwards says Bright Grey is currently assessing adviser and consumer appetite for a product which would sit in between its menu-based life and critical illness (CI) offering and its new direct-to-consumer (D2C) venture, Lifestyle Protection.
Royal London launched Bright Grey in 2003 but last year, after it acquired similar proposition Scottish Provident, many commentators said it was only a matter of time before the group merged the two, arguing they were effectively competing for business.
However, despite centralising the management team, Royal London says both companies will maintain their separate identities.
"The remit I have been given is to keep both companies separate as brands," Edwards says. "We want to make sure we are complementing, not competing with, one another, but it will be interesting to see how we might play with the brands if we do [launch a new product]."
Edwards says Bright Grey may move to cater for the middle-ground between its intricate menu-based product and Lifestyle Protection, which was unveiled last month and is being pushed to consumers who do not seek professional financial advice.
He says some advisers consider Bright Grey's menu-based proposition, which offers standalone life or CI cover or a combination of the two, as over-complicated and may prefer a simpler version.
"Our two current offerings are at the two market extremes," he says. "One is complicated while the other is a cut-down product. We are researching the market for something in between."
The new single management team will be led by Ross Ainslie, who left Scottish Provident to help launch Bright Grey for Royal London in 2003. He will be joined by Steve Streak as sales director, Gordon Watson as operations director and Susan Sneddon as retail director.
Proposition director Edwards, also ex-Scottish Provident, will oversee the pricing, product development and IFA marketing teams for each business.
Caring for children and elderly relatives
Similar to June 2007
Square Mile’s series of informal interviews
Fine reduced to £60,000
Two roles created