Nucleus appoints HSBC wealth boss as proposition director

Nucleus appoints HSBC wealth boss as proposition director

Nucleus has appointed HSBC’s former head of UK wealth propositions in its newly created role of propositions director.

Chris Williams joins the adviser-built wrap platform this month, following four years at HSBC where he was responsible for the high street bank’s face-to-face, remote and online wealth propositions.

Williams reports directly to Alex Kovach, chief commercial officer at James Hay - whose private equity owner Epiris holds a minority stake in Nucleus.

Williams started out as a financial adviser at Ashcourt Rowan, later renamed to Tilney, and then Evelyn Partners following its 2020 merger. Williams spent 13 years at the firm, becoming chief executive of its financial planning business.

He then founded a robo-adviser called Wealth Horizon with Parmenion which is now closed, before becoming head of digital advice at Nationwide. He then moved to his last employer, HSBC.

“Chris is an excellent addition to the team as we seek to build the best retirement-focused adviser platform,” said Kovach.

“This is a hugely exciting time for our group and his expertise and reputation within the industry will be invaluable in ensuring we deliver an attractive and competitive proposition to advisers.”

Williams said he was looking forward to taking the customer proposition to the “next level”.

“As a former adviser, I know that customer proposition is a real priority in terms of strategy and with the investment made already, we can allocate significant focus on creating the best possible user experience for advisers and their customers,” he said.

On March 29, private equity firm HPS Investment Partners announced its acquisition of a majority stake in Nucleus, making Epiris - its previous private equity owner - a minority shareholder. 

Nucleus has a history of adviser ownership, having been formed in 2006 by a group of seven adviser firms but it floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2019.

Before it was sold to a private equity firm, one of Nucleus's owners was South African firm Sanlam which decided to sell as part to scale back its UK arm.

Richard Rowney, Nucleus’s chief executive, told FTAdviser yesterday (March 30) the advised platform’s plan is focused around growth and scale - which will include acquisitions over the next five years now it has more investment behind it. Him and the team believe the bigger they can get, the better they can service advisers and clients.

The value of James Hay and Nucleus combined sits at around £700mn. The group’s combined assets on the platform sit at around £50bn. It is now mulling acquisitions.

Rowney said no provider has truly cracked customer service. “I don’t believe anyone has got service as a true differentiator. So I think there is a space here for players,” he explained.

“This is a market that is consolidating. People are struggling to make investments in technology. We suspect smaller players will decide they can’t keep operating how they are,” Rowney explained, pointing to Praemium’s exit which its owners said was down to an inability to scale.