Embark to launch Sipp in 2023

Embark to launch Sipp in 2023
Jackie Leiper, Embark

Embark is planning to launch its own self-invested personal pension (Sipp) product next year as part of plans to double its market share over the next two to three years.

The adviser platform provider, which was officially acquired by Lloyds at the beginning of this year, has been gearing up to launch a direct-to consumer investment platform, starting off with an Isa and general investment account.

Chief executive at Embark, Jackie Leiper, told FTAdviser the business was developing a number of new propositions, including a self-invested personal pension later in 2023. 

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"This will be complemented by a self-directed investment proposition, built in the principles of digital-first which will build on the experience through our Halifax share dealing business," Leiper added.

"Later in the year, we will launch a refreshed intermediary offering combining the technology expertise from Embark with the product development and marketing expertise from Scottish Widows."

Lloyd’s protection director Rose St Louis told FTAdviser back in June 2022 that Lloyds was working on a "big overhaul" of Scottish Widow's intermediary system so advisers can access the bank’s protection products more easily.

St Louis labelled the bank’s current system “clunky” and in need of a revamp.

The business is also developing a robo-advice service.

While Leiper said this is still an emerging market and others have mixed success, Embark believes there is "excellent opportunity" to improve support to customers in a convenient and low-cost way.

The platform provider has been recruiting for a number of senior roles since its acquisition by Lloyds, having lost a handful of senior staff - including its managing director Peter Doherty - earlier this year.

New hires include Jonathan Sandell, group head of propositions, Barry MacLennan, chief executive of Embark Investments, Ranila Ravi-Burslem, intermediary distribution director, Louisa King, chief risk officer, and Jude Nicol, customer service director. 

"This additional expertise in our management team is helping us deliver our ambitious plans," said Leiper.

The company has also doubled the number of people in its customer service team in Dundee, according to the chief executive.

£150mn on digital

Back in February 2022, Leiper told FTAdviser that the plan was to double market share.

The plan is to target organic growth through distribution channels. 

"We have ambitious targets and plans working with our colleagues in Scottish Widows and Lloyds Banking group to launch new products and services," Leiper said this month.

"Across all of these activities, we are aiming to double our market share over the next 2-3 years."

The direct-to-consumer offering will cater to those with smaller portfolios who would not normally seek advice or be served by advisers, Leiper explained. 

"Our ready-made products will be aimed at people who are new to investment to help them grow their portfolios and to encourage a new generation of investors towards financial advice, when their assets grow and they need more support at key life events."