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Former Embark boss Phil Smith joins Fintel as non-exec

Former Embark boss Phil Smith joins Fintel as non-exec
Phil Smith, founder of Embark founder and independent non-executive director of Fintel

Embark founder Phil Smith has joined technology provider Fintel as an independent non-executive director.

Smith founded Embark back in 2013, but left the platform and self-invested pension provider in January following its £390mn acquisition by Lloyds.

He had grown the business to £42bn of assets under management prior to its sale.

Also a former director of Barclays’ wealth management division, Smith has been brought to Fintel for his “business transformation and industry experience”.

Fintel operates three businesses. These include its intermediary arm SimplyBiz which supports directly authorised IFAs, mortgage advisers and wealth managers, its distribution channel which focuses on market analysis, and its fintech arm which is made up of Defaqto, a business it acquired in March 2019 for £74mn.

"[Smith] brings a wealth of business transformation and industry experience and will complement the range of skills we currently have on the board,” said Ken Davy, Fintel’s non-executive chairperson.

Smith is currently the non-executive chairperson of fintech firm BEIQ, which claims to provide a “holistic” financial planning solution for advisers to help them better engage with clients.

The newest Fintel board member also brings years of merger and acquisition experience from Fortis Investments, Arthur Andersen, Prudential M&G and Prudential Corporation Asia.

Last year, Fintel outperformed revenue expectations by £2.4mn. Matt Timmins, the firm’s joint chief executive, put the uptick down the “rapid digitisation” of its software-as-a-service (SaaS) and subscription-based business.

Its Defaqto ESG research platform expanded to cover 76 retail investment funds, and its Digital ESG Client Profiler was deployed to more than 8,000 wealth managers and financial advisers.

In January, the firm said with “high levels of recurring income” from its SaaS and subscriptions business, combined with a “strong customer base” and “positive market dynamics”, the board remained confident it will deliver future earnings growth.

Back in March 2021, the firm said in its financial results that it could take advantage of “selective and appropriate acquisition opportunities”.

Last year, the firm signed a five-year deal with Tatton Asset Management. The two firms intend to sell 2,500 fintech licences to advice firms during the partnership. The deal saw Tatton license Fintel’s adviser technology and acquire its Verbatim fund ranges. 

Alongside these fintech licences, Fintel is also gearing up to launch a cash flow planning tool for advisers in the second half of this year, with the aim of providing everything an advice firm needs through “one access point”.

ruby.hinchliffe@ft.com