Axa looking again at group pensions market

Axa could re-enter the group pensions market through a corporate wrap proposition less than two years after selling its existing business to Resolution.

Mike Kellard, chief executive officer of Axa Wealth says the provider cannot compete in the group pensions market for two years, but adds that there is nothing to stop it launching a corporate wrap proposition. He adds that Axa has retained the right to use solutions developed by the corporate wrap team that has now moved over to Friends Provident, soon to be rebranded Friends Life.

But he stresses that corporate business is a longer term goal while Axa wealth’s current focus is on developing its proposition for high net worth and mass affluent consumers.

It is also set to launch a variable annuity product in the fourth quarter of 2010. The product, which will offer a protected capital or lifetime income structure, is currently in pilot with selected IFAs. Axa, which already offers a similar product in the US and Japan, says it looked at launching the product in 2008 but considered market conditions at the time made it unsustainable.

Axa Wealth is the new wealth management business launched this week, comprising the Elevate wrap, Architas Multi-Manager, Axa Wealth International and Corporate Investment Services which runs its corporate trustee investment plan.

Kellard says: “Through the conclusion of the transaction which has seen our traditional life business transferred to Resolution, Axa Wealth is now more nimbly positioned to meet those needs, to take advantage of the opportunities the changing market is bringing, and to assist consumers and advisers in doing the same.”