We know how important it is to keep you informed about our progress as we continue on our journey to transition the ownership of the Zurich Intermediary Platform to the Embark Group over the next few months. Particularly when you have clients on the Platform, it’s vital you receive information you can share with your clients and colleagues. We hope these regular updates will do just that.
There are no changes planned to the support you receive or to the functionality of the Zurich Intermediary Platform when the ownership changes to Embark, and therefore there will be no disruption for you or your clients.
Before this of course, the FCA must approve the change and at the time of writing, this has not yet been received. We’ll let you know when we hear from the FCA.
By way of update, here are some areas I believe will be of immediate interest to you:
Adviser Terms of Business
As an existing user of the Platform, your firm signed Zurich Terms of Business when you first started using the Platform. At the point of transition to the Embark Group, there will be no change to the terms that impact your firm or our relationship. Therefore there will be no alteration to the payment date(s) your firm selected to facilitate the adviser fees or any change to how we pay you.
Although the branding will change, there is no requirement to ask for any new or additional paperwork from you or your firm to be completed to facilitate the ownership change. The registered and legal entity for the Platform remains Sterling ISA Managers Limited (SIML.)
Annual Platform charge
Embark has confirmed that there will be no increase in the fees your clients pay and that the benefits of Family Linking will remain in place for new and existing clients. Family Linking continues to be available for up to three generations of family, including SIPPs and family trusts, subject to the existing minimum combined family assets of £200,000 on the Platform.
Clients making regular contributions
There will be no requirement for those clients paying contributions by direct debit mandate to complete a new mandate or alter any of their payment dates.
Clients electing to start to pay by direct debit mandate after the Platform has transitioned across to the Embark Group will be provided with a revised mandate.
Clients making contributions by cheque or by BACS
As we transition, clients paying by cheque can continue to make the payee ‘Sterling ISA Managers’ or ‘Zurich’ up to the end of this tax year. Afterwards, cheques will not be accepted with ‘Zurich’ as the payee and should only be made out to ‘Sterling ISA Managers’.
The account number and sort code for BACS payments remain the same as supplied by the Platform as part of the new business process.
Client online access
This will remain as it is today, giving access online to those clients you have permissioned online.
Zurich Horizon multi-asset fund range
Following the transition of the ACD and the Horizon funds to Embark, it has been confirmed that there are no changes planned for the five multi-asset funds. Columbia Threadneedle Investments will remain the investment manager, EValue will continue to provide the strategic asset allocations and Northern Trust will remain the depository.
Also confirmed is that there will be no increase to the annual fund management fees paid by your clients.
As briefly mentioned earlier, the Platform and also the Zurich Horizon fund range will be rebranded. We will keep you up to date as this progresses. No changes can or will take place until FCA approval has been given, but we thought you’d like to know about this.
That’s all for now and I will be back next month with more information for you.
Alistair Wilson, Head of Retail Platform Strategy
Zurich is a trading name of Sterling ISA Managers Limited. Sterling ISA Managers Limited is registered in England and Wales under company number 02395416. Registered Office: The Grange, Bishops Cleeve, Cheltenham, GL52 8XX.