David Ferguson, the founder of Nucleus, has joined Seccl as its chief executive to lead the “next evolution of platforms”, according to the company’s chairwoman.
Ferguson, who grew Nucleus to £20bn assets on the platform before leaving in September 2021 following its acquisition by James Hay, will join the Bath-based firm on April 1, subject to regulatory approval.
Having grown to around £0.5bn in assets on the platform, Seccl gives advice firms the technology to operate their own white-label platforms if they don’t wish to be beholden to platform operators.
Ruth Handcock, Seccl’s chairwoman and chief executive of owner Octopus Investments, told FTAdviser: “David has a real reputation for building places. Nucleus was really cutting edge when it came out, and now it’s time for the next evolution of platforms.”
Handcock said Seccl, which now employs 80 people, intends to “supercharge” its growth with the appointment.
“We’re ready for this to go really big really quickly,” she said. “We’re having loads of conversations every day with advisers who want to deliver better operational efficiency to their clients.”
Currently, Seccl is run by co-CEOs Sam Handfield-Jones and Dave Harvey. Both will continue in their roles until April 4.
Following this date, Seccl’s founder Harvey will shift his focus to Seccl’s technology and product direction, whilst Handfield-Jones - who has led Seccl since its acquisition by Octopus in 2019 - will transition to an advisory role.
As well as founding Nucleus, Seccl’s new boss Ferguson has also served as chairman of FinTech Scotland and as a ‘Fintech Envoy’ for the Treasury.
Ferguson said he was determined his next role “should involve working with the best and most transformational technology” in the advice industry, backed by an investment partner who shares his ambition and values.
“Seccl has already marked itself out as having the outstanding technology in our field and, after meeting Simon [Rogerson, Octopus Group founder and CEO] and Ruth, I became convinced that this was the perfect home for me in the next stage of my career,” he said in an announcement today (January 18).
“Everyone who has worked with me knows of my conviction that the interests of a company’s customers, shareholders and people should be fully aligned.
“I am committed to cultivating Seccl’s already distinctive culture, and ensuring we’re the very best place to work for anyone who cares about doing the right thing in financial services.”
Ferguson reckons investment platforms have made decent use of technology and automation over the last 15-20 years, but he said “that’s now history”.
The new opportunity, he said, was to redefine the way technology is used to radically improve customer outcomes and reach even more people.
Seccl targets advice firms with north of £300m client assets on platform. Handcock said the firm has invested “significant time” in giving advisers advice on how to adopt new technology.