Nucleus looking at longer notice periods for staff

Nucleus looking at longer notice periods for staff

Nucleus is currently consulting on whether to add three-month notice periods to some of its less senior staff employment contracts, as well as six-month notice periods for more senior heads of department.

FTAdviser understands the platform business is currently at proposal stage as part of a consultation process, meaning these changes to contracts are not set in stone. 

If longer notice periods are agreed upon at the end of the consultation, FTAdviser understands existing staff will have the option to opt into them, rather than being forced upon them.

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The company confirmed it is consulting on “a package of improvements” which is costing it around £1mn per year.

“This is made possible through our increased profitability driven by our scale as a combined business,” a Nucleus spokesperson said.

The platform business said other proposals in the package include better bonus payments, higher pension contributions and more holiday, with a reduction in working hours “for many” and a change in notice period “for some”. 

“As this is a formal consultation with our employee representative group, nothing is agreed yet and some of the details may change as a result of the input of our people,” a Nucleus spokesperson added. 

“Once the package is agreed, adopting it will be optional and no one is being forced to sign up to the new contracts if they would prefer to stay on their existing contract.”

Over the past year, Nucleus has applied six-month non-compete clauses to a handful of its executive suite and middle management, requiring them to serve three months notice and take a further three months as gardening leave.

In an email seen by FTAdviser in May, a member of Nucleus’ executive team said the company’s application of six-month non-compete clauses was “commercially appropriate” in the wake of what they called rival Novia's “aggressive recruitment activities” regarding its staff.

A string of Nucleus employees have left the company since it was bought for £145mn by James Hay's private equity owner Epiris in February 2021. The firm’s founder, David Ferguson, was among them.

Four ex-Nucleus employees have gone on to work for Novia, while a further three have gone on to work for Seccl, the rival adviser platform provider Ferguson now heads up.

FTAdviser asked Nucleus how many employees had left after February 2021, but the firm declined to provide a figure. 

“We’re not prepared to provide a running tally of leavers and new starts. We doubt any business would,” a spokesperson said.

Staff who have left Nucleus since the end of December 2021 include:

  • Marketing director, Garry Mcluckie
  • People partner, Samantha Robinson
  • Deputy money-laundering reporting officer, Leanne Penny
  • Head of events, Jayne Scott
  • Product manager, Silvia Losana
  • Product manager, Alexander McGregor
  • Account management head, Amira Norris
  • Agencies support manager, James Spence
  • CASS technical manager, Derek Walker
  • Office manager, Ann Enneguess
  • Head of marketing operations, James Desmond
  • Head of customer experience and insight, James Edmonds
  • Market insight manager, Geoff Taylor
  • Regional business development director, Martin Clement
  • Business intelligence and data architect, Ales Hejmalicek
  • Head of change, Gavin Anderson
  • Head of proposition, John Walls

A Nucleus spokesperson said today (September 12) the company has added 89 new colleagues since the 2021 deal, with a further 17 expected to join before the end of this year.

“As part of our plan to develop and motivate our high-performing team, we’re looking to harmonise employment contracts across James Hay and Nucleus,” the company told FTAdviser.

“In most cases the intention is to level them up to the best/highest level, so they’re fairer, more attractive and offer our people better job security.”