Mazars, the leading international professional services firm, is pleased to announce a joint venture partnership The Embark Group (Embark). Mazars and Embark are combining their current activities in the UK Employee Benefits Consulting (‘EBC’) sector into a single business. As a result, Mazars Employee Benefits Limited will be renamed Vested Employee Benefits Limited (trading as ‘Vested’). Vested will act as a consolidation vehicle for the clients of each business.
Vested offers a full suite of services, tailored to individual client needs. Vested looks beyond traditional flexible benefits and auto-enrolment; our services span workplace savings, flexible benefits, financial wellness and employee engagement. Where possible our solutions are digitally delivered and all are supported by our structured governance process.
The target market will be small and medium sized UK corporates, with 100 to 750 employees, which it feels are poorly serviced by the traditional players and where small EBC’s do not have the breadth of capabilities and resources that Mazars and Embark can jointly deliver.
The newly combined business will be owned 51% by Embark and 49% by Mazars; accordingly it will be consolidated into the Embark Group. The joint venture will be directly led by Phil Smith and Lorraine Olley of Embark and Mazars, respectively.
As part of this close collaboration, subject to FCA approval, Embark has fully divested its small Chartered Financial Planning business, RCL Consultancy Limited to Mazars UK LLP. Through this transaction, a portfolio of HNW and affluent clients with assets of c£300m will transfer between the businesses. With Mazars focused on growing its Financial Planning presence and capabilities in the UK this is an ideal alignment of the long-term needs of all stakeholders. It also leaves Embark with no conflicting presence in the UK IFA market, its primary distribution channel for bespoke pension, platform (wrap) administration and investment consulting solutions.
Phil Verity, UK Senior Partner at Mazars UK LLP, says: “The combination of these transactions continues our rapid growth in the UK Financial Planning market, a core sector for Mazars in the UK and through Vested we will retain our engagement in the EBC market in a collaboration that greatly increases our chance of material success. Embark and Mazars are a natural fit. We both have strong focus on our clients, our people, and on delivering innovative, high value solutions to the market.”
Phil Smith, Group CEO of Embark, says: “It is tremendous to be taking the covers off the growing partnership we have nurtured with Mazars over the course of 2017. I see the medium-term future of the Wrap and SIPP markets, our core business areas, being highly focused on the workplace arena. It is essential we develop our business efficiently and swiftly to compete in this space; combining our strengths with the SME advisory skills and distribution power of Mazars turbo charges our growth potential. At the same time, I thank RCL Consultancy for its contribution to our Group, but pass the business to Mazars knowing the investment in their growth will take a much greater priority than we are able to deliver today.”
Both transactions are scheduled to complete on 22nd December 2017, but remain subject to regulatory approval prior to formal closure.
Mazars is an international, integrated and independent organisation, specialising in audit, accountancy, advisory, tax and legal services. As of January 1st, 2017, Mazars operates throughout the 79 countries that make up its integrated partnership. Mazars draws upon the expertise of 18,000 women and men led by 950 partners. We assist clients of all sizes, from SMEs to mid-caps and global players as well as start-ups and public organisations, at every stage of their development. In the UK, Mazars has approximately 140 partners and over 1,700 employees, and is ranked one of the top 10 firms nationally.
Mazars Financial Planning is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mazars UK LLP.
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About Embark Group
Embark Group is a full scale retirement solutions provider, active across the market in the areas of SSAS, SIPP, Investment Wrap, Fund Research, Employee Benefits Consulting and Chartered Financial Planning. Businesses within the Embark Group have been established in the retirement market for more than 30 years, and have a long history of working closely with intermediary distribution partners and high net worth clients. The Group‘s Board has extensive expertise across the pensions, insurance, banking and investment markets.
The Group is 100% privately owned and currently employs c525 people across eight businesses in six office locations (London, Edinburgh, Leicester, Salisbury, Bolton and Tetbury). It has £11.6bn of assets under administration on behalf of over 110,000 consumer clients.