Ex-Nucleus chief Ferguson takes new role
Nucleus founder and former CEO David Ferguson is joining investment technology company Seccl as chief executive.
Mr Ferguson built Edinburgh-based financial advice platform Nucleus into a business with £20 billion of assets under administration and left last September following its £145 million acquisition by James Hay.
Seccl’s investment technology powers a fast-growing roster of clients – including established wealth management firms and younger investment platforms such as Crowdcube.
In 2019 it was acquired by Octopus, the £11 billion group of companies that includes Octopus Investments, Octopus Energy and Octopus Ventures.
Mr Ferguson, who joins the business on 4 April and he will set up an Edinburgh office to complement its head office in Bath and another in London.
Current co-CEOs, Sam Handfield-Jones and company founder Dave Harvey, will take on new roles. Mr Handfield-Jones, who led the company’s sale to Octopus, will transition to an advisory role, while Mr Harvey will focus on steering Seccl’s technology and product development.
Ruth Handcock, chairman of Seccl and CEO of Octopus Investments, said: “I’m really pleased and excited to welcome David, whose deep sector expertise, proven track record and clear commitment to putting customers first will be of enormous value as we look to further accelerate our growth.
“Seccl is on a mission to rebuild the infrastructure of investments and advice.
“It’s testament to the fantastic contribution of both Dave and Sam, who have grown Seccl to half a billion in AUA and built an 80-strong team of talented individuals on the back of an award-winning culture. Thanks to their efforts, Seccl is fast becoming the de facto choice for advisers and fintechs alike – a trend that we are confident David will strengthen.”
Mr Ferguson, who has also served as chairman of FinTech Scotland and as a Fintech Envoy for HM Treasury, said: “I’m both grateful and motivated to join such a respected, disruptive and progressive company, and to build on the strong foundations that the team has already laid.
“I was determined that my next role should involve working with the best and most transformational technology in our industry, with the backing of an investment partner who shares my ambition and values.
“Seccl has already marked itself out as having the outstanding technology in our field and, after meeting Simon and Ruth, I became convinced that this was the perfect home for me in the next stage of my career.
“Investment platforms have made decent use of technology and automation over the last 15-20 years. But that’s now history. The new opportunity is to redefine the way technology is used to radically improve customer outcomes and reach even more people.
“Everyone who has worked with me knows of my conviction that the interests of a company’s customers, shareholders and people should be fully aligned. I am committed to cultivating Seccl’s already distinctive culture and ensuring we’re the very best place to work for anyone who cares about doing the right thing in financial services.”
Mr Handfield-Jones, Seccl’s, added: “The opportunity to acquire and build Seccl over the last two and a half years has been one of the biggest privileges of my career.
“From the outset, we have sought to revolutionise the technology that sits behind investments and advice. We have built an amazing team to deliver on that mission, who work hard for our fantastic clients at the forefront of change in our market.
“In David, we have found the perfect person to lead Seccl in the next chapter of its growth and I have every faith in his and the team’s continued success. I’m excited to watch this success first-hand as I carry on supporting Octopus in its mission of supporting advisers and fintechs.”
Mr Harvey said: “Founding and leading Seccl has been a wonderful experience, and I’m really proud that we power a growing number of investment and advice platforms. The time is right for David to lead and accelerate Seccl’s growth, and I look forward to helping the company in an exciting new stage of its journey.”
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