Prudential tries to soften blow as it axes 2,000

Prudential has promised to try to cushion the impact of its
decision to cut 2,000 jobs over the next 12 months through natural turnover and

The company announced last week that it is shedding the jobs
because it is to replace its entire direct sales force with a much smaller
specialist staff of qualified advisers, creating a saving of £135m a year.

John Elbourne, chief executive of Prudential’s UK
operations, said, “The drive for lower pricing in the UK means it is no longer
economic for us to maintain a large, salaried ‘face-to-face’ workforce.
Technology is revolutionising our industry and customers are accessing
financial products and financial advice in different ways.

“We will take every step to minimise the number of job cuts
through natural turnover and redeployment, and ensure the best possible
transition and support for everyone affected.

“We have started a consultation process with employee
representatives over these proposals.”

Prudential is to invest in its telephone and Internet
service to try to secure new sales.

The present sales force of 1,400 will be replaced by a
smaller specialist force who will provide a face-to-face financial planning

Dave Parsons, regional officer for the MSF, is unhappy with
the way Prudential made the announcement. He said, “We were particularly
disappointed that we were not consulted until the morning of the announcement.

“At the moment it is a proposal but as soon as it goes into
the public domain it is much more difficult to influence.

“We will be examining the proposal in detail and making sure
they give us all the numbers. We will try to keep as many people as possible
but it is an extremely sad day.”


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