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Skipton to integrate advice arm

Skipton to integrate advice arm

Skipton Building Society plans to integrate its wholly owned financial advice subsidiary Skipton Financial Services to form one combined business.

The lender stated this will enable customers to receive all their financial services needs from one business.

It was keen to stress there will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the joining of the two businesses, which already share the same head office building in the North Yorkshire market town where Skipton Building Society was founded in 1853.

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The integration is still subject to regulatory approval, but the building society’s working assumption is integration will take place sometime during the summer and should make no difference to the service customers receive.

Skipton Financial Services customers will receive a personal notification and all of the information they need, prior to integration.

David Cutter, the group’s chief executive, explained the move will enable it to better meet customers’ financial planning needs and develop digital and online offerings.

He said: “The past year has seen radical changes made to the pensions arena, which has left a generation of people in need of somewhere to turn to make sense of everything.

“There is an even greater need for people to receive not only mortgage and saving support, but also investment and pensions advice, something that so few other firms are capable or willing to deliver on the high street to the mass market.”

He added by integrating the two businesses, “we can evolve while we remain committed to providing financial advice to our customers”.

Skipton Financial Services was established in 1988 and has grown to more than 116,000 clients throughout the UK.

It offers restricted advice, limited by the number of providers, platforms and by product types.

The service is aimed at clients who have at least £10,000 to invest over the medium to long term and focuses on investment, inheritance tax and pension planning.

It considers a range of unit trust, Oeic and life funds of UK-authorised fund management groups and life offices when constructing the preferred product range, together with a more focused panel of structured products.

Colin Rodger, director at Alexander Sloan Financial Planning, said: “Skipton Financial Services offers restricted advice from a preferred range of product providers so it is not an independent financial adviser.

“However, it is good that the Skipton is developing its service and continues to offer financial advice on the High Street, when some banks have pulled out of the market.”

peter.walker@ft.com