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Rebranded Skandia will favour restricted advisers

Strong brands are what companies strive for, yet a major name in the UK asset management and platform spheres will soon disappear without a murmur.

By Bradley Gerrard | Published Sep 17, 2012 | comments

To the bewilderment of a number of UK advisers, Old Mutual, which owns Skandia, a giant in the UK fund management and platform market, has decided to drop the latter’s name over a period of 24 months.

On a corporate level, the move makes sense, particularly as Old Mutual Asset Managers UK is merging with Skandia’s UK and offshore business. Earlier in 2012, Old Mutual sold the Skandia Nordic business to Skandia Liv, a completely separate company. By abandoning the Skandia name, Old Mutual avoids plugging a brand that another company unrelated to it is using.

Advisers’ reaction, however, has been mixed. The real sticking point, however, is not so much the company’s name but where it could point and how this will impact advisers.

Old Mutual has said it is looking to build ‘investment solutions’ with a select number of groups and plug this into the platform. In its own words, it says Old Mutual Wealth – the overarching brand for all Skandia UK and offshore businesses – will “look to combine these investment solutions with its UK platform to further develop a sustainably profitable and competitive UK platform business and it will look to expand its product range both in the UK and internationally”.

In Old Mutual’s recent results, it said it believed the RDR would see a “significant number of IFAs offering restricted advice” adding this would “further support the need for product providers to deliver such solutions to customers”.

This potentially points to the direction of travel the business will go down and suggests it could be nailing its colours to the restricted mast post-RDR. It might not soon be the new brand that ruffles opinion among the adviser market but rather which advisers the business focuses on.

Bradley Gerrard is Deputy News Editor at Investment Adviser

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