Zurich divests 25% shareholding in Openwork

Zurich Insurance has announced it is divesting its stake in Openwork two years earlier than expected.

Openwork today confirmed it is now majority-owned by the Openwork Partnership, with its employees retaining a minority shareholding via an employee benefit trust, although it is understood more precise details are yet to be finalised.

Openwork said the separation was the successful culmination of a strategy first set out by Zurich when it created Openwork in 2005 from its financial adviser network.

Openwork is one of the UK’s largest financial advice networks, employing around 3,600 advisers across its wealth, mortgage, protection and insurance divisions.

‘Confidence and optimism’
Mark Duckworth, chief executive at Openwork, said: “In February 2016, we announced that partners would become Openwork’s majority shareholder within four years, and we have been working hard to prepare the business for everything that separation entails. The fact we have reached this milestone two years early should give everyone connected to Openwork huge confidence and optimism.”

“I am delighted for Mark and his team, and for the LLP, that we have achieved our long-planned separation and Openwork now stands on its own,” said David White, head of UK retail at Zurich Insurance Company.

“While Zurich will no longer be a shareholder, our relationship will remain strong and we look forward to continuing to provide our market-leading products and services to Openwork advisers and their clients.”

Christopher Copper-Ind
Christopher Copper-Ind is Editor of International Investment.

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