Following strong growth, Alliance & Leicester International are planning a series of careful expansions, including the ability of intermediaries to use e-mail to send instructions, the selling of third party investment products, and full internet accessibility.
On the expectation that the company's customer base will expand from its current 18,000 to the projected 50,000 by 2005, A&LI has entered negotiations with several third-party investment managers to white label their products. Although the bank will not say who its talking to, Legal & General may be a strong contender, based on its relationship with A&LI's mother company.
One certain development, however, is the company's internet function. This step will be taken carefully, with 'view only' functionality to be provided for a select number of customers at the end of 2003.
If no glitches occur, then this will be slowly expanded to include all customers. Then transfers between named accounts will be allowed, followed, hopefully by the end of 2004, full transaction capabilities.
These changes are part and parcel with upgrading the bank's call system ' the automated IT used with one are the same as those that can be used online.
Soon to be launched is a system of e-mail encryption is being installed to allow intermediaries to safely send client instructions via the internet. This will allowed for a small set of advisers before being rolled out for general useage.
The bank has profited from a general swing among investors away from investments and towards cash accounts, which is the mainstay of the bank. However, the client base is changing. MD Simon Hull, said: 'We still have mostly retirees, but there is a growth in working businessmen and in female accounts.'
It is on the back of a slowly shifting , and growing, clientele, that Hull is examining investment products, although he won't be going too far from the bank's cash roots. However, he will be certainly looking at capital protected, 'pseudo-risk' style products.
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