Zurich has sold off its 25 per cent stake in Openwork, effectively turning over control of the network to its advisers.
The provider first set up the network in 2005.
Mortgage Strategy’s sister title Money Marketing first reported that plans were afoot to divest its stake in 2015 as part of a long term transition plan. Zurich confirmed this morning that it has now completed the deal.
Openwork, now the largest independently-run network in the country and third largest in adviser numbers only to St James’s Place and Intrinsic, will be majority owned by the Openwork Partnership LLP, a body that represents member adviser firms.
However, Openwork’s own employees will also hold onto a minority stake through an employee benefit trust.
Openwork chief executive officer Mark Duckworth says: “We have a secure, stable, proftable business that delivers a hugely important service to hundreds of thousands of people across the UK. To be doing this independently; to have our destiny in our own hands, is exciting.”
Zurich will remain on Openwork’s panels, with advisers at the network continuing to distribute its products.
Zurich head of UK retail David White says: “Whilst 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.”