Banks unite for pounds 15m savings drive

Banks and insurance companies, which normally vie fiercely with one other for business, are uniting to persuade millions of Britons to safeguard their financial futures.

Banks and insurance companies, which normally vie fiercely with one

other for business, are uniting to persuade millions of Britons to

safeguard their financial futures.



Agencies are being lined up to contest a pounds 15 million campaign,

which would encourage more people to save regularly, take out life

insurance and join pension schemes.



The Savings and Long-Term Risk Project - the result of a year’s secret

work - is intended not only to support Government plans for reform of

the welfare state, but also to help repair the image of the financial

services industry, which was seriously damaged by the pounds 11 billion

pensions mis-selling scandal.



Sandy Leitch, the UK chairman of Zurich Financial Services and the

project’s chairman, said: ’It demonstrates the very real desire of

financial services companies to increase consumer awareness and to

educate and empower their customers.’



Project executives, under the auspices of the Association of British

Insurers, are working with the AAR to draw up a shortlist of agencies

and media specialists to pitch for the account.



Although their aim is to have the winning agency in place by the end of

next month, no advertising is likely to appear until 2000, when regional

tests will precede a national roll-out.



John Bounds, who has been seconded from Friends Provident to be the

project’s director, said: ’We’re looking for the broadest possible

spread of agencies to pitch.



Having an existing financial services client would be an obvious

advantage.’



The advertising, which will target middle and lower income groups, is

intended to encourage consumers to pay more attention to planning their

financial futures as the Government eases the burden on an overstretched

welfare state.



’There’s a need to encourage more financial literacy and awareness,’

Bounds added. ’However, we won’t be suggesting that a particular form of

investment is right.’



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