In July 2020, IFGL (the owner of RL360, RL360 Services and Ardan) acquired the business and premises of Friends Provident International (FPIL) in Castletown. Group Operations Director, Denzil Williams, explains how the FPIL business is being integrated into IFGL and how IFGL is investing heavily in the Castletown office and re-locating many of its jobs there from Douglas.
‘From the moment we knew FPIL was available for sale we were attracted to the Castletown office as a base for all of our customer service staff,’ said Denzil. ‘We have been over crowded in our IoM Business Park offices.’
Once the integration work between the companies is complete IFGL will employ around 600 staff, of which around 500 will be in the Isle of Man.
‘We intend to split the Island based staff roughly 50/50 and everyone involved in providing a direct service to our policyholders and their advisers will be based in Castletown, as will our Isle of Man based sales people. Our Customer Service Director and Sales Director will also be based there. In addition we have decided to relocate our Ardan platform business. So that is around 280 jobs in Castletown, compared to the 180 who were there before.’
In addition to moving jobs and people to the southern office, IFGL has invested nearly £2m in upgrading the office and its grounds.
‘We are making a considerable investment to the inside of the building to make the offices ready for this new chapter and creating over 70 new car parking spaces, including several disabled spaces and some with electric charging points. We are also making the building as disability friendly as we can.’
He continued: ‘The south of the Isle of Man is home to a lot of people and with new homes being built around Castletown and Ballasalla we believe we can provide local jobs that will allow people to reduce their travel by not tripping to Douglas every day. Short commutes make for good work life balance too so its potentially good news all round.’
The office is expected to be complete and ready by October, with some Douglas-based staff moving down in July.
‘We really appreciate that most of our current staff in Douglas are happy to make the move, though we accept it’s not right for everyone.
‘At IFGL we have a simple philosophy of blending the workforce together so that everyone is capable of providing service across all of our products and customers, no matter what brand their product was originally sold under.
‘This works best when we can have everyone together and working to common processes and under common management. As part of this we have chosen to bring back a significant number of roles from our overseas offices in Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong to the Isle of Man.
‘The overseas office will have been reduced in sized by around 80% as a part of the process and mean new jobs are created in Castletown as a consequence. The overseas offices, including our operations in Montevideo, Kuala Lumpur, Johannesburg and Beirut, have a critical role in supporting sales and service activity as satellites of the central Isle of Man operation and directly under its control.
‘Not only is this cost effective for IFGL, it also manages risk and improves governance. Just as important though is that it reinforces IFGL’s identity as an Isle of Man company, strongly committed to maintaining and growing its Isle of Man base and supporting the community that in turn supports us.
‘Throughout the recent pandemic we have deliberately decided we would not seek financial support from government. We are proud to have been able to continue to provide an annual pay increase for staff as well as award our annual performance bonus.’
Castletown MHK Jason Moorhouse said: ‘This is an incredibly positive and very welcomed announcement. Castletown is the ancient capital of Man and the impressive heritage has helped create a unique urban landscape. In recent years Castletown has become the favoured location for many dynamic new businesses. The heart of the town is slowly being reinvigorated by a small group of exceptional entrepreneurs. These people and their customers have created a new energy and vibrancy in the town.
‘This is a time of great challenges in the global economy and this huge investment shows a real confidence in IFGL’s product, people and Castletown. The company must really be commended for making this decision.
‘As one of the largest companies in Castletown, the company has proudly occupied its base in the town for many years. The employment of an additional 100 people at the site is very welcome news. After three lockdowns, local businesses and the wider economy will be boosted by the arrival of these people.
‘Finally, for over a decade, there has been a massive shift in employment from Castletown to the Business Park. Welcoming back over 100 of these people, makes this announcement even more special and hopefully will signal a new optimism about what can be achieved!’
For more information about careers at IFGL please contact [email protected].