Our People

Our people are our core strength. The team at Embark Group consists of business leaders and experts from wealth management, investment, banking, insurance and pensions sectors.

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Richard Wohanka

Director and Chairman

Richard is our largest shareholder of Embark Group and has more than 30 years of experience in financial services, specifically in asset management. He has forged a robust reputation for building global, high-quality, investment-led businesses. He has previously held chief executive officer roles at Union Bancaire Privée (UBP) Asset Management, BNP Paribas Investment Partners (Fortis Investments), WestLB Asset Management and Baring Asset Management. His early career featured successful positions in fixed income and equities at Paribas and the European Banking Corporation. Richard holds non-executive director roles at BTG plc and Scottish Widows. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Scottish Widows Pension Fund and a member of the Board of Trustees of The James Neill Pension Plan. He is a board member of UBP Japan and a trustee of the Nuclear Liabilities Fund. He is also a member of the Board of Julius Baer International and Chairman of the Remuneration Committee.

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Phil Smith

Director and Group Chief Executive

With special expertise in business transformation, Phil is our Chief Executive Officer and owner. He brings with him 20 years of global experience across wealth management, asset management, brokerage, insurance and consulting. Before joining us in 2013, Phil was Managing Director and Global Management Committee member at Barclays Wealth, where he played a major role in the inception and development of the global infrastructure of this business line for Barclays Plc. His previous roles include that of Global Chief Financial Officer of Fortis Investments. Phil previously held director-level roles at Arthur Andersen, Prudential M&G and Prudential Corporation Asia. During this time, he built up extensive experience of M&A, joint venture partnerships and greenfield business development across Asia, EMEA and the Americas.

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David White


With more than 25 years’ experience in financial services, David specialises in the retirement space, and self-administration in particular. He took the helm as Hornbuckle’s Managing Director in 2008 and was responsible for the strategy and development that underpinned the company’s growth from a small regional IFA to a leading UK SIPP and SSAS provider.

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David Etherington


David’s career working in global financial services companies spans technology, risk, governance and intermediary distribution. In his last executive role as Chief Growth Officer of Zurich Financial Services, he was a Board director of several companies, including Zurich Intermediary Group, Openwork, Zurich Corporate Pensions and Technical Connection Ltd.

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Bob Adams

Chief Operating Officer

Bob is a specialist in infrastructure and large-scale technology and global operations environments. Over his 25-year career, he has worked across asset management and banking sectors and has particular expertise in the deployment of complex front-to-back technology solutions. Before joining in 2013, Bob was Managing Director & Global Chief Information Officer at UBS Global Asset Management.

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Vincent Cambonie

Chief Financial Officer

Vincent’s career spans 25 years of working in global financial institutions, most recently as Managing Director and Group Chief Financial Officer at BNP Paribas Investment Partners. During his career, Vincent has gained valuable skills in performance management and business strategy including various M&A activities.

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Shirley Hylands

Chief Risk Officer

Shirley is responsible for risk control and corporate governance arrangements across Embark Group and its subsidiary companies. Shirley also has responsibility for Company Secretarial matters and compliance arrangements across the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulated companies within the Embark Group. Shirley has over 25 years of experience in financial services, joining TSB (Lloyds TSB) in 1988 from private practice, to focus on compliance, company secretarial and legal arrangements.