UK bank Abbey plans to more than double its share of the investment and pensions market within the next 18 months according to a report.

The Banco Santander-owned lender is targeting an increase in its annual premium income for investment and pensions business by more than GBP2 billion by 2008, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

Abbey is aiming to expand the number of financial advisers working in its 712 branches from 350 to 750. Around 90 staff have already been recruited. About 500 of the 750 will be trained to give advice to mass market customers, the report added.

Abbey sold its life insurance business for GBP3.6 billion in June to Resolution, the leading consolidator of closed life funds. As part of the deal, Abbey agreed to distribute Abbey-branded products produced by Resolution.