rance giant Aviva is on the hunt for a bigger slice of the financial planning pie after taking an equity stake in a fourth dealer group.
The group's Australian business is buying about 25 per cent of the undisclosed group, which is a mid-sized planning firm.
The group's name will be announced in the coming weeks, Aviva Australia chief executive Allan Griffiths said.
Aviva's distribution tactics are paying off after recording a 46 per cent rise net profit for the half year to June 30 2007.
On Friday Aviva announced a $70.8 million profit in the six months to June 30, up from the previous year's profit of $48.4 million.
Gross investment inflows to the Navigator platform rose 67 per cent to $2.94 billion, fuelled by the Federal Government's super changes and white label deals.
There were $32.1 million in insurance sales for the period, up slightly from 2006 when the group fixed operational problems with its risk insurance processes.
The results are a rebound from a sluggish performance in 2001 and 2002.
Griffiths said Aviva's drive to seek new partnership arrangements will be capped at six dealer groups.
In 2005 it paid $40 million to buy a 20 per cent stake in Professional Investment Services, increasing its existing share to 23.5 per cent and giving it a powerful sales force with Australia's largest planning firm.
Later that year Aviva bought 25 per cent of Financial Technology Securities.
In 2006 it took a 25 per cent share of Infocus Wealth Management.
At the end of June this year Aviva took hold of 700 group life insurance plans previously underwritten by Asteron for PIS clients.
"We see ourselves first and foremost as a manufacturer. They [dealer groups] know how to sell and we have some complimentary skills," Griffiths said.
"We're supporting them and they're supporting us."
Aviva has also bought its group life business back in house, ending an outsourcing arrangement with AIG.