Nucleus ‘not treading water’ with tech acquisition

Nucleus ‘not treading water’ with tech acquisition
 David Ferguson, chief executive of Nucleus

Nucleus’s chief executive has pledged the platform will not “tread water” as it brings its technology in-house as part of its journey to be the “best of what it can do”.

David Ferguson, CEO of the wrap platform, said it had bought certain assets of OpenWealth as part of its plans to be the “most tech-scaled and capable platform in the country” and, in turn, attract larger adviser numbers.

He said: “The acquisition simplifies our business model and gets rid of a layer of complexity we had by having an outsourced partner.

“It will improve our position and we will get more done on the development side and improve our offline service.

“We are already competitive in these areas but we want to be the most tech-scaled and capable platform in the country.”

He added that “ultimately” the goal was to attract financial advisers to use Nucleus as their go-to platform.

Mr Ferguson said: “This is all about pushing on and improving service and competitiveness, and in turn it will grow the assets on the platform.

"We are not doing this to tread water. We want to be the best of what we can do."

The acquisition

His comments come after Nucleus announced this morning (November 2) it had entered a binding agreement to acquire part of OpenWealth’s UK business.

Nucleus is to pay £1.5m to bring the assets and the people that OpenWealth used to provide operational services to the platform. 

This includes some back office administration services, technology, business assets and about 130 staff members.

Mr Ferguson said by bringing this aspect of the technology in house, the platform would be able to make improvements across all parts more easily and efficiently.

Its main goals include product development and automation, improving its offline service and creating new growth opportunities for its staff members.

The acquisition, which is expected to complete by the end of the year, is expected to become earnings enhancing in 2021 before boosting earnings from then on.

‘Top dog’ platform

In September, Nucleus told FTAdviser it was aiming to be the top dog of platform technology in the UK, with plans to pile £3m a year into its technology development.

Stuart Geard, chief financial officer at Nucleus, said about a third of the company’s total headcount was now in some form of tech specialism.

The platform's half-yearly results to June 2020 showed Nucleus had increased its spend on technology and development by 50 per cent this year while its staff costs were 10 per cent higher.

Nucleus has made several improvements to its platform so far this year, introducing e-signatures and ad-hoc fees to its adviser services.

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