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Polin: Why Sanlam won't be going back into the platform market

Polin: Why Sanlam won't be going back into the platform market

Sanlam UK chief executive Jonathan Polin has said the advice business is not interested in re-entering the platform market once its private equity deal goes through.

In September Sanlam Group sold its UK wealth arm to private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management for £140mn as it looked to focus on its core South African market.

The deal is expected to go through by the end of this month.

Addressing whether Sanlam UK, which will shortly be rebranded, will look to enter the platform market as other vertically integrated consolidators have, Polin said: "We are not going to build our own platform.

"[Being vertically integrated] doesn't necessarily mean you need to own the software. There is no way we can develop our own platform in an economical fashion.

"We need to go to people who are really at the cutting edge and we are in discussions with a couple at the moment and we will be bringing that together over the next 12 months."

Sanlam was previously owner of a 55 per cent stake in Nucleus, which it sold last year.

Polin said: "I think Nucleus is a great business but there was no point in having a 55 per cent stake in a listed business if you cannot control it and you cannot use it for your own business in the way I would want. The decision to sell Nucleus dovetailed with the group's decision to disinvest from the UK.

"I wouldn't have used Nucleus as the Sanlam platform if I couldn't have owned 100 per cent because you would always be managing it for the greater good of all the other shareholders.

"We did had conversations about buying Nucleus.

"I think we have got all the bits we need. I don't think we should be owning our own tech or platform."

The company decided not to buy Nucleus because the wider group wanted to focus on its African market.

Sanlam UK consists of an advice business and a discretionary fund manager. The business is going through the process of winding down its network.

As part of Sanlam Group's divestment from the UK, it also sold its pensions business to Chesnara, a pensions and protection consolidator, for £39mn last year.

damian.fantato@ft.com