Friends Life moves UK PR to former Chime bedfellows

Leading insurance and pensions provider Friends Life has moved its wide-ranging UK PR work from MHP and Temple Bar to a team formed by Good Relations and Bell Pottinger.

Friends Life: Now working with Bell Pottinger and Good Relations
Friends Life: Now working with Bell Pottinger and Good Relations

The two agencies will now handle consumer, corporate, financial and public affairs work, having won the newly expanded brief in a pitch that included both incumbents.

Bell Pottinger and Good Relations will also provide counsel to the Friends Life Executive Committee, working with James Gatoff, director of group comms, and Peter Webb, head of media comms, as well as the in-house team.

Under the new comms set-up the integrated agency team will be co-ordinated by Good Relations client services director Mark Schmid. Shelley Morrell will take the lead for Good Relations on consumer and digital.

The Bell Pottinger team will be led by James Henderson and Tim Collins, with Ben Woodford, Olly Scott and Gurpreet Brar responsible for corporate, financial and public affairs.

Last year Lord Bell led an MBO of Bell Pottinger from Chime Communications, which owns Good Relations and still retains a 25 per cent stake in Bell Pottinger.

Schmid said: "It has never been more important for people to take personal responsibility for their long-term financial planning. We’ll be helping Friends Life present the financial choices and options available in a new and more engaging way to advisers and their customers."

Friends Life came under fire last December when its refusal to pay out following the death of Nic Hughes from cancer was widely attacked.

Celebrities including Stephen Fry condemned the insurer for its decision and a petition to reverse the decision attracted more than 50,000 signatures.

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