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Utmost to acquire Quilter International for £483m

Life insurance specialist Utmost Group is to acquire Quilter’s cross-border platform Quilter International for £483m cash to add to its wealth solutions arm.

Utmost Group has agreed to buy Quilter International from the wealth management and Financial Planning firm Quilter, subject to regulatory approval.

Quilter International, with £22bn of asset under administration, will be added to the Utmost International arm.

On a combined basis, following the acquisition, Utmost International will have £52bn of assets under administration, 220,000 life policies and would have written over £330m APE of new business in 2020.

Quilter International has a footprint and distribution network across the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and LatAm, with branches in Singapore and Hong Kong and a regulated distribution office in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

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Following the completion of the acquisition, Quilter International will be merged with Utmost International’s operations in the Isle of Man, DIFC, Singapore and Hong Kong. There will be a single suite of products under the Utmost International brand soon after completion of the acquisition.

Parent group Quilter plc had a hard year in 2020, and said it will cut a small number of restricted Financial Planners. The compensation Quilter paid to its senior management in 2020 fell 37% as adjusted pre-tax profits for the group fell from £182m in 2019 to £168m. 

Quilter reported strong “headwinds” affecting its financial results in 2020 included a £5m rise in costs due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Other costs also rose including acquisition costs, a higher FSCS levy and higher regulatory expenses of £7m. 

Utmost Group said Quilter International is complementary to the existing Utmost International business and positions the company well to “benefit from the fundamental growth trends in the international life assurance sector.”

The life insurance firm has a strategy to grow through a combination of acquisitions and organic growth.

Paul Feeney, CEO of Quilter, welcomed the acquisition and said it would bring career opportunities to Quilter International staff.

He said: “I am confident that the agreement we have reached with the Utmost Group will ensure the continued success of the business, with a focus on delivering good customer outcomes, as well as providing a wider range of career opportunities for Quilter International’s employees within an enlarged international business.”

When asked by Financial Planning Today, a spokesperson for Utmost Group said it was too early to comment on redundancies.

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