Manchester Unity has taken a giant leap into the e-commerce age with the launch of a new financial services operation, Unity.
The 150-year-old friendly society is pinning its financial future on the Internet.
Unity will offer products from prominent financial services companies such as AMP and Tower through a Web site and a linked call centre.
"Unity is a first — if not the only — in the way it uses technology because it puts the customer in full control of the process of comparing and choosing insurance, investment or superannuation services," says Unity CEO Brian Howard-Clarke.
"New Zealanders haven't seen anything like it before, and we believe it will have a big impact on the way people make choices about financial services."
Unity, in essence, becomes a broker of financial services.
Other companies which wlll offer product through Unity include Sovereign, Prudential, Royal and Sun Alliance, and American International Insurance.
Howard-Clarke says that it's unlikely anyone will offer a directly equivalent service. "The large financial services manufacturers are not likely to do it because they would have difficulties offering competitors' products and already have established distribution channels."