Embark Group is set to complete its acquisition of Charles Stanley's pension business, EBS Management, after receiving 'change of control' approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The initial £2m deal, which takes Embark's assets under administration (AUA) to £10.96bn, leaves the retirement solutions provider as the 100% owner of EBS, including its wholly-owned subsidiaries Alpha Trustees, EBS Pensioneer Trustees and EBS Self-Administered Personal Pension Plan Trustees.
Embark Group CEO Phil Smith (pictured) said the regulatory approval would enable the company "very quickly" to complete the acquisition, which was announced earlier this month.
"As a business, we were very pleased by the speed of the FCA's handling of the matter," he said. "The regulator often gets a ‘bad press', but we find them to be excellent and believe the trick is to make a quality, transparent and complete submission in the first place. Not having to wait a long period for confirmation has served to minimise the uncertainty for our customers, which is our goal when making any acquisition."
Under the terms of the deal, Embark and Charles Stanley will become ongoing partners for SIPP and SSAS services to the latter's clients. "Following the change of ownership, EBS will continue to operate and administer SIPP products exclusively for Charles Stanley, distributed through both its advised and execution-only channels, and through Bestinvest," Smith explained.
He had earlier described the acquisition as "a sweetheart deal", adding: "EBS staff were always aware of what we were doing and there will be no job losses. Charles Stanley will keep continuity while their clients will see no disruption, will benefit from ongoing technological improvements and will also have the certainty we will not touch pricing for three years.
"At the same time, Embark not only adds scale and leverage to the business, we also have two major distribution partners in Charles Stanley and Bestinvest. This is part acquisition but also a multi-year ongoing partnership to manufacture SIPP and SSAS products. The deal offers excellent value to us and, with our digital and technical capabilities, EBS will trade profitably going forward."
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