New board members

Ferguson position unclear as James Hay seals Nucleus deal

David Ferguson

David Ferguson: position unclear (pic: Terry Murden)

James Hay, new owner of Edinburgh wrap platform Nucleus, will unveil its leadership structure in the coming months after the £145 million acquisition received regulatory approval and today goes wholly unconditional.

Three James Hay directors will lead the group but there was no indication that Nucleus founder David Ferguson will join the board.

The group said the merger will create a financial planning and retirement-focused platform with greater scale and able to address the changing needs of advisers and their clients.

In a statement to the stock market, it said it is “an exciting time in the platform sector” as it continues to develop a broader range of digital capability.

“The Nucleus and James Hay platforms will continue to operate independently for the foreseeable future while integration plans are developed,” it said.

“While this will be a complex exercise, the more immediate priorities are to ensure continuity of service and to deliver a roadmap of enhancements.

“Further details of the combined group’s development plans, including the future leadership structure will be announced in the coming months.”

James Hay CEO Richard Rowney, who will lead the combined group, said: “This deal creates one of the leading, independent, adviser platform groups in the UK with over £47 billion of AUA [assets under administration].”

Mr Rowney, who was previously CEO of LV, said: “We see this as a coming together of the very best parts of both businesses, building on our retirement expertise and their digital capability to develop a service that truly meets the needs of advisers and their customers.”

Current board members of James Hay, Mark Dearsley and Owen Wilson, also become directors of the company with immediate effect. 

Mr Dearsley became the chairman of IFG Group in 2018 and has been chairman of James Hay since 2019 following the Epiris acquisition.  Mr Wilson is currently a partner at Epiris, having joined the firm in 2013.

There was no confirmation of the position of David Ferguson, Nucleus founder, who added: “Since 2006 we’ve always tried to do the right thing and put the customer centre stage, actually meaning that has made us a little bit different from others in the sector but it also carried us to £19bn in AUA and led to this deal.

“We have full respect for the challenges ahead and are energised by the goal of working with our new colleagues to create the UK’s most respected and successful adviser platform.”

Earlier this month Nucleus reported assets under administration for the three months to 30 June rose by 19.2% to £18.9 billion. This was 5.1% higher than the previous quarter.

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