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Insurance advisers agree to share

Financial advisory group Apex Financial is the latest risk-based firm to consolidate under a tighter corporate structure with the launch of its new brand, Share, this week. Bronwyn Shanks, the recently-appointed general manager of Share, said 36 advisory businesses have signed up to the new brand, which was officially structured in January this year.

Tuesday, July 15th 2008, 9:49AM
Over the last year or so a number of other insurance advice groups such as Triplejump and Liberty have also formed more professional business structures - partly to prepare for regulation but also to deliver enhanced services to advisers.

According to Shanks, Share has more meat to its offer than simply an aggregation group with advisers promised services such as marketing, technology - including plan-writing and CRM tools, as well as free education and ongoing training. While Share has negotiated preferred supplier agreements with ING, Sovereign, Asteron and AIG, Shanks said advisers are free to use other insurers to suit client needs.

"We don't have any volume agreements - although we have internal levels we'd like to hit," she said. "We are fiercely independent."

Share has also recently formed an investment committee, with a view to negotiating better deals with providers. The group is primarily an insurance advisory firm but approximately 30% of its advisers also offer investment services.

Shanks said its technology tools could also be geared towards investment advisers.

All advisory firms in the network will change signage to the Share brand over the next few months.

"A lot of advisers understand the value of a brand - what a strong brand can do to the bottom line and also to goodwill value when they look to exit. We know Share's membership will grow quickly," she said.

Share - which carries the tagline 'growth through knowledge' - is understood to be housed under the AFSG 2008 corporate entity whose directors include Anthony Dowell, Lisa and Mark Cocks, Edward Isaacs, David Mather and Graeme Shanks.

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