Curtis Banks Group secures clearance for £45m acquisition of Ipswich-based Suffolk Life from Legal & General

Curtis Banks Group chief executive Rupert Curtis, left, with Will Self, managing director of Suffolk

Curtis Banks Group chief executive Rupert Curtis, left, with Will Self, managing director of Suffolk Life, outside the company's offices in Princes Street, Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

Self-invested personal pensions (SIPP) specialist Curtis Banks Group has completed the £45m acquisition of Ipswich-based Suffolk Life from Legal & General (L&G).

The deal, first announced in January, has been finalised following Change of Control approval from regulators at the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Suffolk Life, established in 1971 and acquired by L&G in 2008, has a workforce of around 240 and manages around 26,500 pensions plans, with around £8.7bn worth of assets under administration.

As a result of the deal, Curtis Banks, which already has offices in Bristol, Dundee and Market Harborough, now ranks as the second-largest dedicated independent SIPP provider in the UK, with a total of more than 500 employees, 68,000 pension plans and assets under administration of around £18bn.

Chris Banks, chairman of Curtis Banks, said: “I am delighted that the acquisition of Suffolk Life has now completed. This is a very significant acquisition for the group.

“My colleagues and I look forward to working with the skilled management team already in place at Suffolk Life in order to develop the potential of the combined group for the benefit of clients, advisers, staff and shareholders.

“We are very pleased that Legal & General has chosen Curtis Banks to take ownership of this business and believe this reflects our strong standing and market reputation.”

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Will Self, managing director of Suffolk Life, which is a member of the EADT/EDP Top 100 listing of the 100 largest companies in Suffolk and Norfolk, added: “Joining the Curtis Banks Group, with its strong focus on the advised retirement market, will help Suffolk Life realise its strong potential.

“Over time the expected improvements will not only benefit advisers and their clients but will play an important role supporting the longer term ambitions of the group.”

The sale of Suffolk Life is part of a series of disposals by L&G of “none core” assets, with the insurance, savings and investment giant also having off-loaded businesses in France, Ireland and Egypt during 2015.

At the time the deal with Curtis Banks was announced in January, L&G group chief finance officer Mark Gregory 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.”

Curtis Banks, which alongside SIPPS also provides a Small Self-Administered Scheme (SSAS) service, was formed in 2009, since when it has grown both organically and through acquisition, including two deals in 2014 and two more last year.

It joined the London Stock Exchange’s junior AIM market in May 2015 and in March this year, in its first set of results as a quoted company, it reported a 69% increase in revenues for the 12 months to December 31 to £16.999m, with operating profit rising by 30% to £4.198m and pre-tax profit ahead by a similar margin at £4.080m.