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By Oliver Haill | Published Sep 12, 2012

Zurich slashes life workforce in pre-RDR restructure

Zurich is to make roughly 200 staff redundant as part of a strategic reorganisation to prepare its UK life business for the Retail Distribution Review and maintain focus on the advisory market.

Gary Shaughnessy, CEO of the group’s UK Life unit, said the business needed to cut running costs and “evolve” in order to cope with the RDR and the consequent changing demands of intermediaries and customers.

As such, the company is planning to remove one seventh of jobs from various functions and layers across the 1,400 people-strong business, including roles in sales and marketing, senior management, finance, risk, compliance and operations.

Zurich explained that its key priorities were now to maintain a focus on the advisory market “to reflect the increasing need for quality advice for individuals, corporates and trustees”.

Other main aims are to continue expanding its retail protection and corporate risk business, and increasing market share in the retail wealth market after the introduction of the RDR through the company’s newly-launched open-architecture intermediary platform.

Mr Shaughnessy said that in order to keep growing Zurich had to operate with a smaller, more “sustainable” cost base.

He said: “With the market backdrop and imminent regulatory and market changes, we have a responsibility to take steps now so that we can continue to deliver and invest for our partners and customers in the future.

“That can mean having to make some difficult decisions about the way we run the business and where we focus. These steps are not taken lightly and we will do all we can to help our people at this difficult time.”

The insurer said it had notified all those staff members whose jobs were likely to be at risk of redundancy and was consulting with its employee forum and union representatives about the proposals.

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