The decision is in line with Zurich's commitment to concentrate investment on its core retail and group protection franchise, where it has invested heavily in recent years. As part of the deal, Zurich and Embark have 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.
Hannah Brader, lead partner for Pinsent Masons said: "The sale is significant for Zurich and we are proud to have achieved such a successful outcome for them. We worked closely with them to understand what they wanted to achieve and therefore the options available to them. The final outcome is great as it will enable Zurich to concentrate on the areas where they have invested heavily in recent years - core retail and protection franchise - whilst also working alongside Embark to develop innovative digital life and protection products."
Jim Sykes, Zurich’s Head of UK Life, 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.”
The transaction includes Zurich's Investment and Retail Wealth Platform business (Sterling ISA Managers Limited) and its Authorised Corporate Director and Investment Management business (Zurich Investment Services (UK) Limited), with assets under administration totalling c. £11 billion and more than 130,000 advised clients.
Zurich’s wealth platform has performed strongly since its launch six years ago, attracting billions of pounds in flows and winning multiple awards for its functionality. Its five risk-rated, multi-asset Horizon Funds are among the top performers in their sectors.
The acquisition is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2020.
The Pinsent Masons' team advising on the deal was led by Corporate Partner Hannah Brader with assistance from Emma Dawe and Helen Siviter. Specialist advice was provided by Tobin Ashby and Matt Saward (Wealth), Simon Laight and Michael Kemp (Pensions) and Angus McFadyen and Chris Perks (Commercial).