Sesame Bankhall has confirmed Barclays has been appointed to review "strategic options" for the group, seemingly confirming industry speculation that parent Friends Life is putting the network up for sale.
Sesame Bankhall group said Barclays Capital has been appointed to review strategic options for the group and the work is at an early stage.
The move follows speculation last week from industry insiders that Friends Life is touting for bidders for Sesame Bankhall Group as the insurer continues its broader cost-cutting and restructuring plans.
At the time, a Sesame Bankhall spokesman refused to comment on "speculation". However, IFAonline's sister-title Cover confirmed redundancies the previous week among senior management at Friends Life including its strategy and new propositions director, Iain Mallon, and Tim Fox, head of national accounts.
Friends Life reported 150 jobs were under threat last December, with 50 vacancies that would not be filled.
Sesame Bankhall Group's latest results, with its next results due next month, show the distribution group made £2.2m in trading profits in 2011, down from £5m in 2010. But SBG placed over £26.1bn of mortgages in 2011, up £1.9bn on 2010.
The Sesame Bankhall Group operates three distribution brands, including its appointed representative network with 1,300 member firms. It also runs Bankhall, the support services brand used by 1,500 directly-regulated advisers, alongside its mortgage club, PMS.
Market commentators said the group remains a solid proposition but with the heavy liabilities of a distributor of this size, any price could seem "too expensive".
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