Hornbuckle parent buys Avalon

Hornbuckle parent buys Avalon

Embark Group, the parent company of Hornbuckle, has taken over self-investment personal pension (Sipp) administrator Avalon Investment Services.

On 25 February, Financial Adviser reported that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) was working with the administrators of Avalon.

The Sipp administrator went into administration on 22 February, and the FSCS has said it is working to understand what the firm’s insolvency might mean for its customers.

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Following the deal, Embark Group will set up a new entity, Embark Investment Services, which will be the regulated entity which has instant savings account permissions.

As such, Embark Group will use the acquisition to bring Isa and nominee capability to the group.

However, according to Mike Douglas, head of propositions at Embark Group, trading will continue under the name Avalon.

He said, while the company had not disclosed the figure it paid for Avalon, a rough ballpark figure of £125,000 was not inaccurate.

He added: “There will be no restructure as such. The Avalon business is a great business and has been trading profitably, but it does not have the expertise in-house and it does not have the resources to buy-in expertise, and it needs to develop.

“We can help on the technology and marketing side, and provide all the regulatory capital and technology to help take the business forward.

“From our perspective, we have no presence in the Isa business, so this helps us to bring Isa capability into our business straight away.”

Mr Douglas added that over the next six months, the plan was to bring the business in and “stabilise it and spend some time understanding it”.

When asked for his opinion on the deal, Scott Gallacher, director at Rowley Turton, said: “Our own experience of Hornbuckle has not inspired us in terms of service standards.

“I would rather Hornbuckle focuses on sorting out their own internal problems rather than potentially taking on more problems.”