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Ipswich-based pensions administrator Suffolk Life sold in £45million deal

09:57 15 January 2016

The Suffolk Life offices at 153 Princes Street, Ipswich

The Suffolk Life offices at 153 Princes Street, Ipswich

An Ipswich-based pensions firm has been sold in a £45million deal.

Owner Legal & General Group today announced the sale of Suffolk Life, one of the UK’s leading providers and administrators of SIPPs, or self-invested personal pensions, to Curtis Banks Group.

The acquisition is subject to an underwritten placing by Curtis Banks Group, and regulatory approval, both of which are expected in the first half of 2016.

Suffolk Life, which employs around 240 staff and manages around 26,500 plans with £8.7billion worth of assets under administration, including 3,600 commercial properties, has built a strong reputation for its SIPP (a pension plan which allows the holder to choose and manage the investments made) property expertise.

Mark Gregory, group chief finance officer at Legal & General said: “Legal & General is delighted to have played a part in the success of Suffolk

Life. It is a great business, but it is not core to our focused strategy going forward. Teaming up with Curtis Banks will help it to realise its strong potential, by creating one of the UK’s largest SIPP providers.”

Chris Banks, executive chairman of Curtis Banks Group plc, said: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Suffolk Life which accelerates our strategy of becoming the leading full SIPP provider in the UK. Suffolk Life is one of the oldest and most respected brands in the SIPP industry, with an excellent reputation for service and professionalism. We are delighted that Legal & General has chosen us to take ownership of this business and believe this reflects our strong standing and market reputation.”

Suffolk Life was established in 1971 and is based in the town’s Princes Street.

Legal & General, an insurance, savings and investment management firm which is responsible for investing £728bn worldwide, said it was disposing of non-core businesses, and focusing on core activities where it believes it can achieve significant scale and attractive returns on capital. The business disposed of Legal & General France, Legal & General Ireland and Egypt in 2015.

In 2014, Legal & General’s operating profit rose 10% to £1,275million.

Curtis Banks Group, which employs around 270 staff at its head office in Bristol and regional offices in Dundee and Market Harborough, is one of the UK’s largest providers of full SIPPs and Small Self-Administered Pension Schemes (SSAS) with more than £9bn of assets under administration. It began trading in 2009 and has grown organically and through acquisition.

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