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Hornbuckle parent acquires DFM research business Discus

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Embark Group, the owners of Sipp provider Hornbuckle and platform Avalon, has bought discretionary fund management research business Discus.

The price of the deal was not disclosed.

Discus will sit alongside The Adviser Centre and Scopic Research, Embark’s other investment research businesses.

Embark said the move was targeted at helping advisers make better investment decisions.

Embark chief executive Phil Smith said the firm was committed to “building a portfolio of investment research and financial intermediary service businesses that add real value to the advice sector.”

He added that the research buys were “highly complementary” to the core Sipp, Ssas and wrap offerings from the rest of the group.

Embark acquired Avalon, which operates both a platform and Sipps, out of special administration last February.

Its acquisition drive then extended to taking over SIpp provider Rowanmoor that July, and pledged to make further acquisitions after taking over The Adviser Centre in October.

However, the investment consultancy market received scrutiny in the FCA’s recent asset management market study, with the regulator saying it would look at whether the Competition and Markets Authority should investigate the market.

The regulator said: “Investment consultants undertake valuable due diligence for pension funds but are not effective at identifying outperforming fund managers. There are also conflicts of interest in the investment consulting business model which require further scrutiny.”

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