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Barclays launches new UK financial advice service

Barclays has teamed up with several leading UK finance and insurance companies to take advantage of new FSA depolarization rules to offer UK customers a new financial planning service.

The bank has described its new service organization as fundamentally different from many other major distributors, as it sources life and pensions products from providers across the whole market on a selective basis, rather than link to providers across their entire product range.

Barclays will team up with AXA, Friends Provident, Legal & General, Norwich Union, Prudential and Standard Life, which have been chosen by a selection process using criteria such as product quality, financial strength, customer service and value for money, the bank said.

The move means that Legal & General will no longer enjoy an exclusive relationship with Barclays.

The Barclays move comes in the wake of a fundamental change instigated by the UK’s FSA known as ‘depolarization’ which allows financial advisers to offer life, pensions and investment products sourced from a variety of providers, as well as their own.

The decision by the regulatory body is an attempt to improve the integrity of the financial industry and improve customer confidence in the aftermath of a series of damaging revelations about the fairness and honesty of conduct in the past.

Jim Reeve, managing director of Barclays Financial Planning, said: We are delighted to be working as one team with our partner providers to offer a truly customer-focused financial advice offering. With the help of external experts, Barclays has searched the whole of the market to seek out the best providers for each product.

Barclays said it will adopt the new approach in a rolling program from mid-year.