Abbey National hires Net chief

Abbey National has appointed Tim Sawyer as marketing and business development director of its new Internet bank, codenamed Aquarius.

Sawyer, formerly head of payment systems and strategy, is to recruit an advertising agency to launch the separately branded online bank next spring.

Euro RSCG, M&C Saatchi, Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters and Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO have been shortlisted for the &£10m account.

Sawyer could also appoint media and direct marketing agencies. The existing roster includes Carat.

He reports to Tim Murley, managing director of Aquarius. Murley was formerly director of strategic performance improvement at Abbey National.

Sawyer will develop the Aquarius product range. It will initially offer an online savings account but is expected to add loans, current accounts and mortgages later next year and is understood to be targeting wealthy customers.

The online bank will operate as a separate unit within the Abbey National group.

Abbey National’s Aquarius brand will be one of several separately-branded Internet operations launched by financial services companies next year, in attempts to emulate the success of Prudential’s Egg.

Halifax and Lloyds TSB have both announced plans to set up Internet brands next year and the Co-operative Bank recently unveiled its online bank, Smile.

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