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Top life assurers to distribute via Masthead

10 March 2006 Karen Thomas

Sanlam and Masthead Distribution Services are far advanced in terms of reaching a distribution agreement whereby Masthead will distribute Sanlam products to its member brokers.

Sanlam believes its participation in Masthead will enable independent brokers to remain a viable source of independent advice. The deal spells positive news for qualified and accredited brokers who are also FAIS (Financial Advisor and Intermediary Services Act) compliant.

Old Mutual launched Masthead in June 2004 and entered a distribution agreement at the same time.  Masthead now has a membership of close to 2 700 independent brokers, making it the largest network in the country. Members receive services including practice development, product marketing and advice on compliance issues from Masthead, as it fulfills its mission to make its members more effective in financial planning.

Peter Dempsey, Mastheads Managing Director, says Masthead is very excited about getting Sanlam on board. We believe Mastheads support to independent brokers will be boosted in the process, and that it will enable our member brokers to improve on their service offering to clients.

Kobus Vlok, Chief Executive: Sanlam Personal Finance Distribution, says the agreement will provide significant benefits in terms of distribution capacity and economics. It also adds significant value to Mastheads proposition in the industry which, we believe, is a sound and viable objective.

According to Mike Harper, Executive General Manager: Retail Distribution at Old Mutual, Masthead was established to stabilise the industry, as we were concerned that a number of independent brokers, faced with complying with FAIS, would exit the industry. In addition, Masthead was to be an industry collaboration between brokers and product providers. We are satisfied that these two objectives are being met.

Liberty Life is also in discussion with Masthead regarding a distribution agreement for its products.

We have engaged with Masthead over the past year and are in the process of settling distribution agreements, said Alan Woolfson, a member of Libertys executive committee. We are pleased to be part of this proposition and see significant benefits for brokers and our customers.

Woolfson expects the formal process to be concluded shortly.

Dempsey also paid tribute to Metropolitan Odyssey, which has been distributing products via Masthead to member brokers since August 2005, and welcomed Auto & General as the first short term insurance provider.

Dempsey added that Mastheads mission to assist independent brokers remains the same and that the latest developments were about strengthening the Masthead proposition, which would elevate the credibility of Masthead.

We are excited about the future of Masthead, and convinced that the organisation, its member brokers and product providers are well-prepared to deal with the challenges that face the industry over the next few years.  End consumers will benefit, as Masthead will help the independent broker model, which will ensure continued independent advice for the many consumers who value this, said Dempsey.

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