Lloyds Banking Group to acquire investment and retirement platform Embark

Lloyds Banking Group has announced that is intends to acquire UK investment and retirement platform business, Embark Group, for around £390m.

Scottish Widows, which is part of the Lloyds Banking Group, said the acquisition would enhance its long-term savings proposition for intermediaries.

It plans to leverage Embark’s platform and product capability to digitise its Retirement Account, and try and improve how it works with advisers.

The firm also stated that advisers would “benefit from smoother sales and onboarding of new clients”, and be able to manage existing clients’ needs more efficiently.

Scottish Widows detailed its ambition to become one of the ‘top-three’ in the individual pensions and retirement drawdown market by 2025, with firm hoping the acquisition will accelerate these plans.

The acquisition will see the Lloyds acquire approximately £35bn of assets under administration on behalf of around 410,000 consumer clients.

Scottish Widows chief executive and Lloyds Banking Group group director, insurance and wealth, Antonio Lorenzo, commented: “There’s an ever-growing customer demand for clear, simple and affordable financial planning and retirement products and services, and our acquisition of Embark will enable us to enhance our intermediary proposition and, modernise the way Scottish Widows works with intermediaries, recognising the continued value of advice.”

Scottish Widows stockbroking and distribution director, pensions, Jackie Leiper, said the acquisition would offer “huge potential” for the firm to take its retirement proposition “to the next level”.

She continued: “It’s more important than ever that advisers supporting clients in navigating long-term savings decisions are supported by the right products and services, and this will help us build the best possible experience for intermediaries to meet their customers’ evolving needs, expand our distribution reach and boost our capability to unlock new opportunities, backed by the deep-rooted trust in our brand.”

Embark will co-exist with Scottish Widows upon completion of the deal, with Leiper to become CEO of the newly acquired firm.

The acquisition and Leiper’s appointment are subject to regulatory approvals and completion is anticipated by the end of 2021. 

The transaction does not include the Rowanmoor SIPP and SASS administration business, which is being retained by existing shareholders.

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