Axa is preparing to launch an internet-based portal later this year that will offer a wide range of financial services, from insurance to banking and share dealing.
The project, billed as an interactive financial 'supermarket', will allow consumers to buy both Axa and non-Axa products on-line, using revolutionary internet technology such as web-linked mobile phones and possibly digital television.
Graham Hill, former head of money brokers Garban, has been asked to lead the development of the project, which Axa Sun Life chief executive Mark Wood said had been primed with an investment of "tens of millions" of pounds.
He said Axa was at the early stages of discussions with a number of banks and affinity groups over their providing banking and share dealing services for its web site when it is likely to be launched later this year.
Wood admitted this might mean customers preferring to select non-Axa life and insurance products if they happened to be cheaper than Axa's own brands. But he was convinced the high public awareness of the Axa brand name, which research has shown to peak during the FA cup final, would ensure the site was a success.
"Our sponsorship of the FA cup tournament has reduced our need to invest in an indiosyncratic name for our internet venture and we are confident it will be a powerful brand in the web market," he said.
He added that the web site is not intended as a direct threat to insurance brokers, but rather a complemetary service that will enable them to access Axa's sister companies of PPP healthcare, Axa insurance and Axa Sun Life.