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Friends Life : consolidation of office locations

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As part of its review of locations Friends Life has outlined plans to close its office in Basingstoke and consolidate its offices in Manchester by the end of 2012. The proposed site changes are in line with Friends Life’s future strategy for the combined group of heritage businesses.

The majority of the work undertaken in the Basingstoke office is linked to the administration of the corporate pensions business acquired from AXA UK plc in September 2010 and is now being migrated to the heritage Friends Provident corporate pensions platform, New Generation Pensions (NGP). This migration has already begun and is due to complete in 2012. Once complete, the intention is to close the Basingstoke office.

Following the acquisition of Bupa Health Assurance Limited, the enlarged Friends Life business now has two sites in Manchester – the heritage Friends Provident office in Spring Gardens and the acquired office in Salford Quays. The decision has been taken to consolidate into the Salford Quays office by the end of the second quarter 2012.

Within both offices, Friends Life will consider appropriate opportunities for relocation based on the skills required at the company’s other office locations. Trained advisers and counsellors will be located in both offices to help manage employees through the period of change.

David Hynam, Executive Director Operations at Friends Life said:

“The proposals announced today are part of a review of our office locations across the enlarged business to rationalise sites and reduce fragmentation of our operations. Our strategy to reduce our cost base can be achieved by consolidating into fewer office locations and today’s announcement helps us to achieve this objective. These decisions, whilst necessary, are extremely difficult ones to make and we are very mindful of the impact on our people. We will do all we can to help them through this period.”

In total 140 people are employees at the Friends Life Manchester Spring Gardens office and a further 155 people are employed at the Basingstoke office. The company consulted in advance with Unite, the union representing many of its employees.

Source : Friends Life