Liberty SIPP assets purchased by EBS Pensions, part of the Embark Group
We are pleased to announce the completion of the sale of all trading assets of Liberty SIPP Limited (‘Liberty’) to EBS Pensions Limited (‘EBS’), a subsidiary of Embark Group.
The combined business will be operationally led by Liberty Directors John Fox and Julie Dean; bringing together £6.8bn AuA, a combined book of 32k SIPP clients, a large and competent FTE base, with a solid infrastructure on which to continue its strong growth trajectory. The combined business is profitable day one and will result in additional synergies downstream. The new business will be headquartered within the Embark Group estate in Greater Manchester - just a short distance from Liberty’s existing offices - with a significant satellite operation in London.
The consideration is not disclosed, however Embark has confirmed that it will inject £2m of additional regulatory capital into EBS to support scale and growth for the business. Embark will also provide financial and operational support to Liberty shareholders to facilitate the orderly wind-up of the business.
Going forward, the transferring Liberty SIPP products will be re-branded although will be maintained on the current terms and conditions, operated by EBS. Downstream the clients of these products will gain access to the broader services of the Embark Group.
This transaction brings the total SIPP scale of the Embark Group in line with its key competitor James Hay at c56k schemes and c140k consumer clients with c£15bn AuA, following five full years of activity since the Group’s inception in 2013.
John Fox, Managing Director of Liberty SIPP, commented “The timing and cultural fit of this transaction is excellent for all of us at Liberty. We are moving from being one of the fastest growing small players in the SIPP market, to driving the continued growth of one of the largest sector players. We have many complementary strengths and capabilities but share a clear passion for consumer outcomes and service. We look forward with excitement, in what has been a challenging period for the SIPP market.
Phil Smith, CEO of the Embark Group, commented “This transaction, at this time, is exceptional for the consumer clients of Liberty. It is also highly positive for the employees of both businesses and will further improve the growth trajectory for wider stakeholders of the Embark Group. Fundamentally, the ex-Liberty team, their clients and distribution partners will thrive with the supportive financial strength, scale, and technology resources of the Embark Group.
Question & Answers
What was the reasoning behind this transaction?
Over recent years the personal pensions market has changed considerably and it is becoming ever more apparent that scale, skilled people across a range of disciplines and strong financial backing are crucial to long-term success. The Embark Group is one of the top players in the sector and demonstrates all of these characteristics. This deal therefore will bring surety to the future of our business and employees.
Will anything change with my policy?
No. Your policy will continue to operate under the current terms and conditions.
Will my fees increase, because of these changes?
No. There will be no change to the fees you pay.
How will the service I receive change?
The service you receive will remain unchanged. Over time we expect you will see improvements as we tap into the wider resources of the Embark Group.
I recently received a letter about the transfer (novation) of contract. What should I do?
Please click through to this page and confirm your acceptance of the transfer of contract to EBS.
If I would prefer to transfer my SIPP to another provider, what shall I do?
You are always able to transfer your SIPP to another SIPP provider and can do this by contacting Liberty and providing us with the necessary instruction. Please note however that if you have assets that are regarded as non-standard, a new provider may not be able to accept them. In such a case, your SIPP would remain with us until this can be resolved or you find a new SIPP provider who can accept non-standard assets.
If I have a complaint against Liberty SIPP Limited, how will this move affect my complaint?
The move will not affect the nature or status of your complaint against Liberty SIPP Limited. Liberty SIPP Limited will continue to assist and respond to you as usual in accordance with its complaints management processes and procedures.
For financial advisers
How will the change affect my clients?
They will see no change. We will ensure product and pricing continuity under the existing terms and conditions. Clients will benefit from the protection of being part of a scale player, with access to the broader services of Embark Group downstream.
Will the Liberty business be destabilised due to the transaction?
There could be some mild disruption, which is inevitable as we transition to a new model in the first 8 to 10 weeks. Beyond this you will see improvements in service, and wider product offerings coming to your disposal.
How will the service I receive change?
You will continue to work with the same team with whom you have built an existing a relationship. All of the Liberty teams will relocate to Embark’s purpose built facility, just 10 miles away in Bolton. We plan to retain our local feel and the service aspects you are accustomed to, with the backing and additional resources of the Embark Group.
What will happen to any new business that is currently being processed?
Nothing will change. All pipeline business will be processed as BAU.
Will the process for writing new business change?
The process for submitting new business will remain unchanged for now. The current documentation, including terms and conditions stay the same.
Have you communicated this message to my clients?
We are contacting financial advisers in the first instance, giving you the information you will need to field any client questions. We will, however, need to contact customers in line with our regulatory responsibilities.
Will clients still have the same protection they had with Liberty, in respect of the assets being ring-fenced?
Yes, like Liberty, EBS is authorised and regulated by the FCA. Given that all client assets and cash are held through the pension scheme in trust, the assets and cash remain ring-fenced from EBS.
What protection is in place for a client if EBS were to go into liquidation?
In the unlikely event that EBS goes into liquidation and to the extent a client suffers loss, the same avenues of redress that currently exist under Liberty through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme will be available to them under EBS.
I have further questions. Who should I speak with?
Please contact your usual representative from Liberty SIPP, who will be happy to answer your queries.