Co-op buys city will-writing firm

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The Co-op is expanding its legal services after acquiring a Sheffield firm offering wills and probate services.

Collective Legal Solutions Group is one of the largest businesses of its kind in the UK, dealing with inheritance-related legal matters. It employs 100.

Rod Bulmer, chief executive of consumer services at the Co-op said: “This acquisition is a perfect fit for the Co-op, supporting our purpose of championing a better way of doing business.

“Our consumer services businesses - general insurance, funeral care and legal services - already serve millions of our members in communities across the UK and Collective Legal Solutions will further support that work.

“This acquisition also gives us the opportunity to consider how this face-to-face channel can support other services provided by our consumer services businesses and the wider Co-op Group.”

Matt Howells, managing director of The Co-operative Legal Services, added: “This is an exciting time for the Co-op Group and puts the consumer legal services business at the heart of the rebuild.

“We already have a leading wills and probate business, but in an area which consumers can sometimes find complex, this acquisition strengthens what we can offer our members by enabling us to also provide face to face services, in their local communities.”

The acquisition comes as the mutual continues to defend itself at an employment tribunal in Manchester over claims it sacked its former head of procurement, Kath Harmeston, for whistleblowing.