Branson's Virgin launches free financial site in UK

Richard Branson's endlessly expanding Virgin empire in the UK has launched virginmoney.com with 14 financial partners, offering products without joining fees.

The site has gone live with various financial services, mortgages and the company's own online share dealing service, virginshares.

For the first time, independent financial data company MoneyFacts is supplying its information for free on every single consumer financial product available in the UK, a facility for which Virgin is understood to have paid several million pounds.

"We'll welcome any provider that meets our criteria for their product to lack or remove initial fees," said Peter Ballard, sales and marketing director at virginmoney.com. He said the site could expand over the coming months to offer insurance products, pensions, loans, credit cards and current and deposit accounts. He also revealed that virginmoney.com is to earn a £35 flat fee for any enquiry the site pushes to its partners.

The initial partners, or so-called 'e-ssociates', on the site are Family Assurance, Fidelity, Gartmore, Invesco, M&G and Norwich Union. The mortgage providers are Alliance & Leicester, Bank of Scotland, Bristol & West, Lambeth, Skipton, Virgin One, West Bromwich and The Woolwich.

Virginmoney.com is a joint venture between the Virgin Group and Australian financial services giant AMP. A $15 million (£10 million) advertising campaign to promote the site will run until the end of the year, spearheaded by a TV campaign this autumn.



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