Dundee-based Embark Group sold to Lloyds Banking Group for £390m
Dundee fintech Embark Group Limited (EGL) has been sold to Bank of Scotland owner Lloyds Banking Group for a consideration of £390 million.
Lloyds will acquire Embark Group and its subsidiary brands. The sale excludes the Rowanmoor SIPP and SSAS administration business, which is being retained by existing shareholders.
Embark Group said that the sale “presents a significant opportunity” for the business to continue its rapid expansion. It added that Lloyds will provide further investment and support to accelerate Embark’s proposition and service innovations for the intermediary sector.
The Scottish tech firm will work closely with Lloyds to deliver its strategic objective of simplifying and modernising its proposition for mass market customers and enhancing its retirement proposition for independent financial advisers.
Embark has grown exponentially since its formation in 2013 as a digitally led retirement solutions business, enabled by its strategic partnership with market-leading asset servicing and technology provider FNZ and its ability to attract investment from world class institutions.
The Embark Group, including Rowanmoor, has over £40.8bn of assets under administration on behalf of more than 425,000 clients. It achieved this by attracting billions of pounds of inflows and through the acquisitions of the advised and partnership books of Alliance Trust Savings, Zurich’s retail wealth platform and its five risk-rated Horizon multi-asset funds, which remain leading performers in their sectors.
The sale will see Lloyds Banking group acquire c£35bn of assets under administration on behalf of c410,000 consumer clients within Embark Group Limited.
Jackie Leiper, managing director pensions, stockbroking & distribution at Scottish Widows, will become CEO of Embark at completion, subject to regulatory approval.
David Barral, chair, Embark Group, commented: “In eight short years Embark has built one of the most respected and fastest growing digital retirement and savings businesses in the UK. The combination of Lloyd’s Banking Group’s financial strength and distribution reach, combined with the agility, digital capability, and expertise of Embark, will provide the perfect opportunity to create a market leading proposition for consumers, intermediaries, and strategic partners.
“Rowanmoor, as a leading specialist SIPP, Group Pension Trust, and SSAS administration provider, will become an independent standalone business. It will have the ongoing support of existing shareholders who remain committed to the business, and will continue to work closely with partners and financial advisers to deliver excellent service and good outcomes for their customers.”
Antonio Lorenzo, chief executive, Scottish Widows and Group Director, Insurance & Wealth, Lloyds Banking Group, added: “There’s an ever-growing customer demand for clear, simple and affordable financial planning and retirement products and services. Our acquisition of Embark will not only help us serve all of a customer’s financial needs in one place, but also sit alongside our existing partnerships which meet the more complex financial planning and investment requirements of mass-affluent and high net-worth customers through Schroders Personal Wealth and Cazenove.
“Through Embark’s technology, we will be able to increase the reach of our investment offerings for customers who are happy to manage their own portfolios, through modern, easy to use technology. We’ll also be able to enhance our intermediary proposition, strengthen our offering in Retirement and modernise the way Scottish Widows works with advisers, recognising the continued value of advice.”