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Embark to acquire Zurich Retail Investment Platform and Zurich Investment Services

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Embark Group is to acquire Zurich’s Investment and Retail Platform business (Sterling ISA Managers Limited) and its Authorised Corporate Director (ACD) and Investment Management business (Zurich Investment Services (UK) Limited) for an undisclosed fee.

The transaction will bring cGBP11 billion AuA and an advised book of >130,000 clients to Embark. It will also add an extensive distribution capability with strong reach into the adviser community, which will be valuable in driving future growth, and further increase Embark’s presence in the UK investment savings sector.
 
This acquisition will also enable Embark to develop retirement investment pathway solutions and underpin its workplace, pensions and savings propositions in 2020.
 
Embark and Zurich have also entered into a five-year partnership agreement to develop and deploy leading edge digital life and protection products through Embark’s technology and distribution channels. The partners anticipate significant digital innovation in the market over the period, and this acquisition will enable Embark to lead in the space.
 
This transaction follows Embark’s recent asset purchase of the advised and partnership assets of Alliance Trust Savings and will take the Embark Group to a pro-forma Assets under Administration (AuA) of over GBP33 billion, for more than 300,000 consumer clients across all its channels and brands. The acquisition is subject to the customary regulatory approvals.
 
Phil Smith, Embark Group Chief Executive, says: “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. This deal takes Embarks group AuA to well in excess of GBP33 billion as we continue to disrupt the UK investment savings and platform market.”
 
Jim Sykes, Zurich’s Head of UK Life, says: “This is an excellent outcome for all parties. Although our Wealth platform is a strong and successful business, we believe the needs of customers and advisers would be better served by an owner that is focused on investing in this specialist area. Embark is ideally placed to take the platform to the next stage in its development. 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.”

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