Sesame Bankhall Group 2012 Results

→ SBG generates trading profit in 2012 of £4.1 million (2011: £2.2 million). Evolution of SBG on track following successful launch of new adviser propositions.

As part of the Friends Life 2012 results announced today, Sesame Bankhall Group (SBG) has outlined further details of its trading performance and future outlook.

Trading performance

SBG generated a trading profit in 2012 of £4.1 million (2011: £2.2 million) and successfully delivered a range of new propositions for advisers.

SBG is a broad-based financial services group and the UK’s largest distributor of retail financial advice, operating three market-leading brands:

  • Sesame is the leading appointed representative network
  • Bankhall is the largest support service provider for directly regulated advisers
  • PMS is the biggest mortgage club for directly regulated intermediaries

Key developments in 2012 include:

  • A new practice management system, powered by XPLAN from global technology provider IRESS, has been launched to improve adviser efficiency and risk management. At the end of 2012 the system had 250 users, encompassing both independent and restricted advisers.
  • A wealth management proposition incorporating a new Investor Risk Profiler tool developed with Oxford Risk and Barrie & Hibbert, addressing the latest FSA guidance on assessing suitability.
  • A new investment management company, Optimum, enabling advisers to create bespoke investment solutions for their clients and facilitate adviser charging. Optimum gained traction through 2012 and by the end of the year had net fund inflows in excess of £1 million a week.
  • These services link to SBG’s bespoke investment platform, Sesame Bankhall One, which is now firmly established and at the end of 2012 had accumulated over half a billion pounds of assets.
  • The group’s new technology-driven restricted advice proposition has attracted significant interest from adviser firms. Furthermore, Sesame is one of the only networks to offer a hybrid option combining independent and restricted advice within one firm, which is proving popular as firms segment their customer base and de-risk their business.
  • SBG now operates the UK’s fifth largest mortgage valuations business, following its launch in 2011, demonstrating the group’s successful diversification and bolstering SBG’s mortgage services business.
  • SBG strengthened its mortgage services further in 2012 with the launch of Sesame Bankhall Specialist Lending Services, a new mortgage processing service to help advisers place complex business, and Sesame Bankhall Legal Services, to help lenders and advisers access quality legal firms for conveyancing and other legal services.
  • A new General Insurance portal was launched in 2012 to make writing GI business easier for advisers, with access to a wide choice of products that are underwritten by leading UK insurers.
  • In March, SBG began its new long-term partnership with Connells, covering a range of initiatives including protection business. Connells operates one of the UK’s largest estate agency networks.
  • 2012 saw the first advisers graduate from The Financial Adviser School, an innovative training programme that is developing the next generation of professional financial advisers, and helping firms with their recruitment and succession planning. Over 60 students are now enrolled.

Strategic Review

SBG announced in February that Barclays Capital has been appointed to review strategic options for the group. This work is at an early stage and is ongoing.

Further developments and progress so far in 2013, include:

  • In January 2013 there were a further 69 adviser authorisations in the Sesame Network.
  • Sesame has received over 200 adviser applications to join the group’s new technology-driven restricted advice proposition.
  • SBG’s new General Insurance portal has been well received, with over 2,000 advisers now registered for the new service.
  • 2013 will see the continued development of SBG’s wealth management proposition, including the launch of a new Portfolio Analysis Tool.
  • A further cohort of 35 students is due to join The Financial Adviser School by the end of the first quarter to begin their training as professional financial advisers.
  • The response to SBG’s new practice management system has also been very positive, with 170 firms, representing 730 advisers, signing up for the new system at the launch events in January.
  • SBG will develop and embed its range of new propositions launched in 2012. Over time many of these initiatives will help the group and its advisers to manage risk more efficiently and effectively.
  • As part of its continuous improvement programme, Sesame is making further investments in its compliance and technology infrastructure to ensure that the right customer outcomes are being delivered. Enhancements to core oversight activities reflect the new regulatory environment and the need for deeper evidence of controls and risk management.
  • In addition, as part of its strong commitment to the mortgage market, SBG will be working in 2013 to ensure that the group and its advisers are well placed to meet the requirements of the FSA’s Mortgage Market Review, ahead of its implementation in 2014.

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Sesame Bankhall Group Limited, company number 3573352. Sesame Limited, company number 2844161. Sesame Services Limited, company number 2338540. Bankhall Support Services Limited, company number 2785381. Sesame General Insurance Services Limited, company number 01902998. Premier Mortgage Service Limited, company number 05011650. Each company is registered in England & Wales with a registered office at Pixham End, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 1QA. Bankhall Support Services Limited and Sesame Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Sesame General Insurance Services Limited and Premier Mortgage Service Limited are appointed representatives of Sesame Limited.