Rix unveils three point plan for Canada Life growth path
Lindsey Rix, the newly arrived CEO at Canada Life, has a three-point plan for taking the company forward.
Canada Life is a traditional life insurance company in the UK, operating in a number of markets with a large annuity business, a growing home finance business, is the largest provider of group protection insurance and also has a wealth management business, predominantly offshore, providing bonds and estate planning solutions out of the Isle of Man and Dublin.
Rix explains that the business has three and a half million customers, 1500 employees in the UK, assets in total of over GBP40 billion.
Rix says: “It’s growing nicely this year and we have been traditionally more of a product provider, operating in our silos, but we want to move to getting closer to customers, to intermediaries and providing what people will need from us through their life cycles.”
The new strategy is in three parts: an internal transformation of some of the firm’s IT architecture and operating model; a switch to deeper customer focus, moving from product led to customer led, and the third part is looking to grow further in the wealth market.
The existing wealth business is largely offshore, 99 per cent intermediated, and Rix is looking to build new distribution channels with advisers.
“It’s hard to generalise across the intermediary market,” she says. “Each is quite different with each going through its own cycle and challenges and opportunities.”
Home finance, where the firm is strong in the UK, had a period in its past that saw it not well thought of but Rix has observed that over the last five years things have changed. “Some of the negative connotations of the past were well deserved,” she says.
“But the industry has made a lot of progress in making sure the advice process and support for the client has improved immeasurably.”
Rix notes that the retirement landscape for society as a whole is changing. “I truly believe that people will want to access some of their equity in their homes. Final salary pensions are not so common any more, and you have to access and use savings and overall holistic wealth for your retirement. The market will change a lot and people will have to look at when is the right time to take an annuity and drawdown on your housing stock as the trend for home finance will continue as an important part for people’s futures.”
The firm also has an onshore wealth business offering bonds and a retirement account. “We have ambitions to grow onshore in the UK,” Rix says. “And a further element is that we have a strong asset management team which supports our annuity business and also offers fund selection for our wealth business and our third party institutional business.”