Openwork boss insists Zurich backs business

Philip Martin, revealed how relations between the advisory business and largest shareholder Zurich have improved since the days of Keith Carby.

Back in 2009 Keith Carby, then chief executive of Openwork, walked out amid rumours of boardroom rows with 25 per cent stakeholder Zurich.

Mr Carby had been brought in back in 2007 to spearhead efforts to float or sell Openwork as part of attempts to break the distributor’s ties with Zurich.

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Openwork was created by Zurich after it closed down Zurich Advice Network.

Mr Carby was replaced by Martin Davis, now chief executive of Cofunds, who when he joined the network was quick to assert the intermediary would only be successful post-Retail Distribution Review (RDR) with the support of Zurich.

Mr Martin echoed Mr Davis’ sentiment when FTAdviser quizzed him on how relations were with Zurich today.

He said: “They are our single biggest shareholder and they have re-affirmed their commitment to us in 2011 when we reconstituted the share classes.

“On the product provider side it is different from what we had in the past as they are now part of a wider panel.

“Zurich products are deep within our product base. We are used to these products. It is unthinkable that it (Zurich) would not form part of our product mix.”

Mr Martin also said when it came to selecting a platform, Openwork had recently opted for Zurich to provide it – even though the provider has yet to launch its own wrap proposition.