PlatformsMay 14 2020

Openwork to enter 5-year deal with Embark

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Openwork to enter 5-year deal with Embark
ByImogen Tew

Embark has confirmed it will continue the former Zurich platform's distribution agreement with national advice network Openwork until 2021 as it looks to extend the deal until 2026.

Openwork is currently the largest distribution partner of Advance by Embark — the old Zurich platform — as the network’s members primarily use the platform, a legacy of when Zurich owned Openwork.

When Zurich sold the platform to Embark last year, the long-standing deal was thrown into uncertainty and the firms did not answer questions about whether Openwork would continue to use the platform, now named Advance by Embark.

However Embark confirmed today the two firms had agreed to continue their existing distribution agreement until 2021 and plan to enter a formal agreement for Advance by Embark to become the primary supplier to Openwork’s advisers for an additional five years, until 2026.

Mike Morrow, wealth and platform director at Openwork, said: “We are committed to establishing a new long-term agreement with Embark as our primary wealth platform for additional business. 

“Its financial strength and commitment to innovation and a willingness to develop the platform collaboratively makes Embark the ideal partner for us.”

Chief operating officer of Advance by Embark, Phil Bungey, said he was “extremely pleased” to have this commitment from Openwork which was an “exceptional and highly valued customer and partner”.

He added: “This agreement is recognition of our commitment to the UK advised market, as well as our relentless focus on innovation.”

Further shake ups

Embark also announced today that Horizon by Embark, formerly Zurich’s authorised corporate director and investment management arm, had rolled out distribution of its multi-asset fund range to Standard Life’s Elevate and Wrap platforms.

The five risk-profiled funds will now be available on Advance by Embark, the Embark Platform, as well as the Aegon ARC, Aegon Cofunds, Transact, Standard Life Elevate and Standard Life Wrap platforms.

Fraser Blain, chief commercial director of Horizon by Embark, said: “Given [the fund range]’s strong and consistent performance since launch, we’ve seen strong demand for the funds, especially from advisers looking for a retirement solution.

“Adding the funds to Standard Life’s platforms will further extend their availability and reach for advisers and consumers.”

The funds are designed to optimise returns for a given level of risk. The strategic asset allocation is carried out by Evalue, using its stochastic asset model, while Columbia Threadneedle’s multi-asset team conducts the tactical allocation and active asset management.

The Horizon team provides a final layer of risk management oversight.

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