PMS Mortgage Club has expanded its Zenith protection panel for directly authorised (DA) firms with the addition of British Friendly, Canada Life, Guardian, Shepherd’s Friendly, The Exeter and Unum.

These providers will join Aegon, AIG, Aviva, L&G, LV=, Royal London, Scottish Widows, Vitality and Zurich.

The panel offers advisers enhanced terms and is backed by support from PMS’ in-house experts, along with 15 product providers representing the majority of the UK protection market.

Bankhall and PMS team up with CIExpert

The support package includes adviser toolkits and calculators, along with videos and webinars to help advisers increase their protection knowledge and skills.

The Zenith protection proposition offers advisers and their customers solutions to a wide range of needs including term assurance, critical illness cover, income protection, family income benefit, private medical insurance, whole of life, relevant life, business protection and group risk.

PMS Mortgage Club has also launched a Fair Value Framework for DA firms, to ensure that customers enjoy value from the protection and general insurance (GI) products they recommend through PMS.

This framework will help advisers demonstrate how the products they have sourced through PMS have undergone thorough due diligence and have been assessed in-line with the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) guidance on value within  protection and GI distribution chains.

This information will assist advisers and their firms if, in future, they are asked to evidence what they have done to embed the FCA’s protection and GI product governance requirements and how they satisfy themselves that the products they distribute represent fair value to customers.

The Zenith protection panel and Fair Value Framework are also available to directly authorised wealth, protection and mortgage firms that are supported by PMS Mortgage Club’s sister-company Bankhall.

Over the coming weeks, the expanded Zenith protection panel will also be rolled out to mortgage and protection firms that are members of Sesame Network.

Jeff Woods (pictured), campaigns and propositions director at PMS, said: “All advisory firms offering protection and GI have a regulatory obligation to undertake product governance to ensure the products they distribute are right for their customers.

“However, some directly authorised firms struggle with this due to limited resources and confusion as to how this can be demonstrated in practice.

“That’s where PMS is seeking to help, with the launch of our Fair Value Framework.

“Working closely with our provider partners, we will ensure the products available through Zenith are in-line with the latest regulatory guidance and offer true, ongoing value to the customer.

“As part of our framework, we regularly request information from our provider partners to ensure ongoing monitoring and oversight of Zenith, so that the products offered remain appropriate for advisers’ needs and continue to offer fair value to customers.

“After all, the more that customers value their cover, the more likely they are to retain it.”

Ross Liston, managing director at Bankhall and PMS, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted people’s vulnerabilities – both health-wise and financially.

“Advisers have a critical role in responding to this increased consumer interest and helping to strengthen their clients’ financial resilience, by having more meaningful protection conversations.

“To fully support advisers, we also wanted to address some of the issues in the protection market that are being driven by COVID-19, such as product providers changing their underwriting criteria and taking different approaches in the current climate.

“It’s a double-edged sword for advisers – increased consumer interest on one hand, but with protection products in a state of flux, which in some cases is making it more difficult to place business with confidence.

“Offering increased provider choice through our new Zenith protection panel provides a greater range of solutions to this potential problem for advisers and their clients.”