Zurich joins commission party as Axa leaves early

Zurich has started offering initial commission on corporate pensions business for a limited number of high quality company schemes, just as Axa has pulled out of that type of remuneration.

Zurich says it is running a pilot on a small number of cases to test the market, and will wait until after the FSA statement on the RDR and its application in the workplace, expected in June, before it formalises its strategy on the issue.

Initial commission providers Scottish Widows and Norwich Union are both planning to launch factory gate pricing options for their corporate pensions offerings once there is more certainty around how the regulatory framework will look.

Zurich has also beefed up its corporate pensions team with the appointment of five new specialists and a sales team of three that has set up a new City office.

The City office team comprises Andrew Casey, Matthew Bailey and Craig Spittal, all recruited from Aegon. They will be operating principally on the retail side of the business, but their strong relationships with corporate intermediaries will also be maintained.

The new pensions specialists include Alan Godbeer from L&G, Andy Nash, previously an IFA and formerly with Axa, Dave Lawson from Scottish Widows, Paul Rutland from O&M Systems and Mark Thewlis previously head of pensions sales at Clerical Medical.

Dave Lowe, head of pensions at Zurich says: “We will decide whether we want to continue to do this the future. That will in part reflect what the FSA says in its statement due in June about how the RDR will apply in the workplace.”

Paul Goodwin, head of pension at Norwich Union says: “Pulling out overnight in the way Axa has done is not overly helpful to the intermediary channel. It seems premature to go ahead when the FSA is due to clarify its position on customer agreed remuneration in June. We will be finalising our factory gate pricing model once the FSA has made clear how the new rules will look.”

Nick Groom, distribution and marketing director, corporate pensions, says: “Axa’s decision represents an acceleration of our strategic vision, articulating our desire to offer a clean and transparent corporate pensions proposition to our important distribution partners on behalf of their blue chip clients.