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How Lloyds' wealth division is readying for RDR

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How Lloyds' wealth division is readying for RDR

While Lloyds Banking Group has been grabbing the headlines thanks to its unwelcome £1 billion payment protection insurance surprise, the lender's wealth division has been busy getting ready for the new regulatory regime.

As the retail distribution review (RDR) fast approaches, Lloyds has opened up a private banking client centre so to offer clients speedier access to its services.

The innovation was borne out a research project into the impact of the RDR.  Lloyds said the same project also prompted its decision to start referring clients with £100,000 of investible assets toward its private banking services division.

Lloyds, which roughly a year ago said it wanted to become the go-to UK wealth management provider, has also decided to end its push into the mass market.

Clients with less than £100,000 in savings and investments will not be offered any investment advice service.

However the bank has a host of new products in the pipeline for these clients, with many of these coming to fruition during 2013.

Lloyds explained in an announcement to the Stock Exchange: 'With the onset of the retail distribution review we have undertaken extensive market research on customer requirements and how the market will evolve.

'As a result customers with over £100,000 of investible assets who would benefit from holistic financial planning will be referred to our private banking service. For customers who hold less than £100,000 in savings and investments we will not offer an investment advice service but will continue to give these customers information and help with savings products on a non-advised basis.'

Lloyds is not the only big bank looking to crack the competitive wealth management market - the likes of Barclays already have a strong grip on the space and Investec, following its recent acquisitions of Williams de Broe and Rensburg Sheppards, has formed its own distinct Investec Wealth & Investment division.

The progress banks have made has been mixed, however, with the likes of Credit Suisse seemingly scaling back its operations.

However, Lloyds told its investors it will make 'significant' investments into its retail division, which will funnel clients with enough assets toward its private banking services.

'We are making significant additional investments in digital channels and we have now increased our active internet banking customers by 1.1 million in the past year to 9.3 million and grown the number of mobile banking users to 2.9 million since launch a year ago,' it outlined.

'We continue to roll out our branch refurbishment programme across the Lloyds TSB network, and we are extending opening hours and improving queuing experience in these branches.'

Although Lloyds did not in depth go into the progress made in its wealth, asset and finance division when it announced its results and increased PPI charge earlier today, it touched on the role its wealth division had played in producing the bank's overall £1.9 billion underlying profit for the nine months to September. 

Lloyds said it delivered 'above-market growth' in customer deposits, reflecting 'good growth' in both its retail and wealth, asset finance and international divisions.

'Customer deposits have grown by 4% since 31 December and by 6% over the last 12 months, around double the market rate,' the bank explained.

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