LV  

LV: We’ll always see a role for the adviser

LV: We’ll always see a role for the adviser
LV's managing director of protection, savings and retirement, Clive Bolton

Liverpool Victoria has said it will “always see a role for the adviser”, adding that it has no plans to sell investment products direct-to-consumer.

The mutual’s managing director of protection, savings and retirement, Clive Bolton, told FTAdviser it may have created some confusion among advisers following its deal with Embark, a platform provider poised to enter the direct-to-consumer space.

Earlier this month (February 14) LV signed a deal with Embark to allow advisers and their clients to gain access to its retirement-focused platform via an LV-branded service.

Bolton said: “We are essentially using Embark platform technology for a number of clients because we want to reach a wider group of advisers.

“Because we’re focusing on mass affluent clients, we always see a role for an adviser. We don't have any plans to sell our investment products on a non-advised, internet portal type basis.”

LV’s focus on mass affluent customers forms part of its pivot, led by Bolton, following the major demerger with its general insurance business between 2017 and 2019 which had left LV in a state of business uncertainty as to whether it could continue as an independent mutual.

Rather than build or buy its own platform, LV decided to take the route of fund distribution to reach more advisers - starting with its Embark deal. The mutual has since hinted at more platform deals to follow, with some providers having already approached LV in a bid to host its smoothed managed funds range.

“I think we’re getting to that [white-label] stage in the strategic curve of platform development, which will be hugely impactful in the way advisers serve clients going forward,” said Bolton.

LV has its own adviser, which Bolton said it will “continue to develop” though it is ultimately “small in the grand scheme of things”.

Its focus on the mass affluent, advice-led and low-risk market hinges on the latest launch of its smoothed managed funds range, which Bolton said has helped turn around its with-profit business.

“We had a relatively small adviser base, and what this [the fund range] allows us to do is work with larger organisations [advice firms and corporates].”

LV defines the mass affluent sector served by advisers as those clients with between £100,000 and £500,000 of investable wealth by retirement. 

“If you divide this figure by 30 years of retirement, it’s £10,000 a year - this isn’t much,” said Bolton.

The aim of its smoothed managed fund range will be to help clients grow this wealth so that by retirement, they have more than £10,000 a year to draw down from their pensions.

Over the years, LV has transformed its business away from selling annuities following the introduction of pension freedoms - another reason alongside the demerger for its strategic pivot.

This runs through other parts of the business, not just its investment product arm. The mutual is active in the critical illness and income protection space, and it is also growing its presence in the equity release space - including the launch of its new later life platform.