Embark  

Advisers hope for platform improvements after Embark-Lloyds deal

"So we knew a couple of things but not enough for an adviser firm to make a really balanced judgment on suitability for their clients and suitability has to come first.

“I'd urge everybody to keep cool and watch it play out. One of the great things about our market these days is that clients are not subject to penalties or exit barriers.

"There may be administrative problems when moving in the future, if that were necessary, but that's kind of as bad as it gets.”

A good deal

Others believe it’s a good deal for the industry and both businesses, with the Rowanmoor Sipp and Ssas administration arm being left out of the sale.

Nathan Bridgeman, director at Westbridge, said this exclusion was an interesting part of the deal adding “the challenge will be cultural as well as getting value from the deal”.

He said: “The platform space is very challenging with pressure on margins and profitability. Embark has timed the sale very well.”

Martin Bamford, head of client education at Informed Choice, agreed it was a good deal saying Embark shareholders will be “delighted with the price”, and Lloyds will get assets under management, new customers and an enhanced distribution reach fit for the modern age. 

He added: “Rowanmoor becoming independent following the deal suggests that business did not suit the digital strategy, but it's better to recognise this pre-acquisition rather than address it later.”

Felix Milton, chartered financial planner at Philip J Milton & Company, said: “The acquisition will make it a lot easier for Lloyds to grow its investment offerings as they’re acquiring an existing platform that already works. 

“Whilst there undoubtedly will be teething issues with the integration with Scottish Widows, digitisation of older platforms and assets can only be a good thing.”

Lloyds biggest problem now is to make sure any change does not create any disruption to adviser’s work-flow, according to Dominc James Murray, chief executive of Cameron James.

“What they can likely bring to the table is technology, which in this day and age of pension planning and DB pension transfer advice is critical,” he said.

“I will be watching the approval of this one closely, and I hope the Embark clients ultimately benefit from this move.”

amy.austin@ft.com

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