Platform sale to Embark Group reflects insurer’s interest in ‘greatest growth opportunities’
Zurich UK has sold its retail wealth business to Embark Group for an undisclosed sum.
As part of the deal, Zurich and Embark have entered into a five-year partnership to distribute digital life and protection products through Embark's technology channels.
Jim Sykes, Zurich UK's head of UK life, said Embark is "ideally placed to take the platform to the next stage" in its "specialist area", while suggesting the move will allow Zurich to focus on its core retail and group protection business.
This allows us to focus our resources on our protection business where we see the greatest growth opportunities
He said: "In turn, this allows us to focus our resources on our protection business where we see the greatest growth opportunities. We are excited by our new retail protection partnership with Embark, which is a further signal of our intent in this market."
Phil Smith, Embark Group chief executive, added: "This acquisition is perfectly aligned to our growth strategy and duly establishes Embark as a significant player in the UK retirement and savings market. The deal brings considerable assets, demonstrable distribution and investment capabilities, and most importantly one of the best teams in the industry to Embark. We are also excited by the potential of our new digital partnership with Zurich UK, and the future innovations we will bring to the market through it."
Emerging wealth player
Embark recently bought the advised book of the Alliance Trust Savings platform from Interactive Investor for an undisclosed fee. It is set to scrap the flat-fee model for new clients, although it will come to an arrangement for existing clients to keep the flat-fee model going. It means advisers will no longer have a flat-fee option for platforms.
It came after the SIPP, SSAS and platform company raised £39m when investment giants BlackRock, Legg Mason and Merian Chrysalis bought a combined stake of nearly 40% in the business.
The recent acquisitions and the purchase of Zurich's businesses will take Embark Group to a pro-forma assets under administration of more than £33bn and 300,000 consumer clients across all its channels and brands.
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