First Direct launches online funds supermarket

First Direct launches online funds supermarket

UK telephone and Internet bank First Direct is to launch a new investment supermarket and sharedealing service.

First Direct capital will offer independent financial advice with a fee-free investment and protection service for its one million customers. The service promises to provides access to any life assurance, pension and investment product openly available on the market, as well as a new sharedealing facility (which will be launched shortly) and a CAT standard mortgage from parent company HSBC Bank.

In a bid to attract clients the bank is offering a low initial charge of 2% on a selection of investment funds, typically up to 3% cheaper than the marketplace.

First Direct capital is available both by telephone and Internet. Telephone customers can speak to a salaried financial planning managers who has been trained to give callers independent advice on products. Alternatively, customers can access the service online and choose from 23 investment and 6 protection products.

"This is Independence Day for First Direct and its customers," says Alan Hughes, chief executive of First Direct. "We are giving our customers the freedom to choose from amongst the best life assurance, pension and investment products that the market has to offer."

First Direct capital also offers customers a selection of 'member only' benefits including £20 cashback on equity ISAs, free re-mortgages and fee-free registration for First Direct online sharedealing.

The bank has teamed up with The Motley Fool to offer online seminars and news by e-mail. Customers will also receive regular online general, business and political news from a number of suppliers, including Reuters and the Economist.

HSBC has established the venture as a separate subsidiary, First Direct Investments (UK), for the sale of life assurance, pension and investment products.

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