The acquisition is expected to bring approximately £11bn assets under administration (AuA) along with an advised book of more than 130,000 clients to Embark


Image: Zurich offices in Madrid, Spain. Photo: Courtesy of Luis García (Zaqarbal)/Wikipedia.

UK-based financial services provider Embark has agreed to acquire Sterling ISA Managers, an investment and retail platform business of Zurich, along with its authorised corporate director (ACD) and investment management business, Zurich Investment Services, for an undisclosed amount.

Embark said that the acquisition of Zurich’s businesses, subject to customary regulatory approvals, will enable it to develop retirement investment pathway solutions and reinforce its workplace, pensions and savings offerings in 2020.

Embark Group chief executive Phil Smith said: “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 £33bn as we continue to disrupt the UK investment savings and platform market.”

The transaction will strengthen Embark’s presence in the UK investment savings sector

As part of the transaction, Zurich and Embark will collaborate for five years under an agreement to develop and deploy advanced digital life and protection products, backed by Embark’s technology and distribution channels.

The acquisition is expected to bring approximately £11bn assets under administration (AuA), along with an advised book of more than 130,000 clients, to Embark.

In addition, it will add a wide range of distribution capabilities to drive future growth and increase Embark’s presence in the UK investment savings sector.

Embark said that the transaction follows its recent acquisition of the advised and partnership assets of Alliance Trust Savings, and help its pro-forma AuA reach more than £33bn, for more than 300,000 consumer clients across all its channels and brands.

Zurich UK life head Jim Sykes said: “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.”