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Ferguson: I would have set up my own firm if that's what it took

Ferguson: I would have set up my own firm if that's what it took
David Ferguson, incoming CEO of Seccl

UK platform veteran David Ferguson is about to embark on a new epoch in his career, and said his ambitions for the market were such that he would have started a new firm had he had to.

The industry veteran is on his fifth month of garden leave after exiting the platform he spent more than 15 years growing.

But come April, Ferguson will take on the role of chief executive at Seccl, a white-label platform provider targeting advisers, amongst other clients, and offering do it yourself platform models.

“I was perfectly prepared to go back to a start-up scenario if that was the only way to do it," said the one-time founder.

"But when I came across the company [Seccl] and met the team at Octopus, it seemed like a really good opportunity. The thing that's different is it's got the benefit of being a really cutting edge technology provider."

Ferguson stressed the fact Seccl owned a self-built technology stack which is digital from start to finish.If Seccl's technology hadn't existed, Ferguson would have considered starting a new company with the same values of giving advisers more ownership of the platforms holding their clients' assets.

He believes there is a growing adviser appetite for more liberty, something he witnessed at Nucleus too.

“We used to have an adviser market beholden to product providers. But in the last 10 years, a degree of liberty has evolved and Seccl is a natural extension of this," he explained.

At Nucleus, Ferguson eventually required advisers to become shareholders in the platform, which he cited as an early form of such liberties.

'Won't miss sleeping on the office floor'

Starting from nothing back in 2006, Ferguson matured Nucleus into a business ripe for acquisition with a £145m price tag and £20bn of platform assets. 

Alongside the likes of Transact and Standard Life Wrap, Nucleus successfully injected new energy into an advised market which had become tired of legacy fund systems.

This put him in good stead to head up a company which - according to its chairwoman - is primed to spark the “next evolution of platforms”.

But before Ferguson gets stuck into his new venture, he’ll be enjoying at least another two months of rest.

“It’s been quite nice to have some time to chill out,” he told FTAdviser. “Nucleus was a pretty full on experience.”

Back in 2019, following Ferguson’s 50th birthday, the Nucleus team gifted him a music tour of Berlin. Yet to make it across the continent, he is hoping to satiate his love for Iggy Pop before starting at Seccl in April.

Asked how he’s expecting to find the transition, Ferguson said there were certain aspects of a pure start-up he won’t miss.