Platform change

Nucleus sold again to private equity buyer

David Ferguson
David Ferguson: left after the company was sold

Nucleus, the Scottish financial planning platform, has been sold again, just months after it was acquired by James Hay.

Private equity firm HPS Investment Partners has bought a majority stake in the business for an undisclosed sum. Current private equity shareholder Epiris will retain a ‘significant minority stake’. 

It emerged at the turn of the year that that Epiris had hired advisers to look at options for the group’s future ownership and four potential buyers of a stake were later identified.

Epiris has been consolidating Edinburgh-based Nucleus into the James Hay fold since acquiring it for £140m last August. The company will rebrand as Nucleus, founded by David Ferguson, who left after the deal was completed.

It created the fifth largest adviser platform in the UK with some £48bn in assets under administration.

Our story on potential sale

HPS is the private equity division of Highbridge Capital Management within JP Morgan Asset Management. The firm currently manages $24bn (£18.3bn) in public credit and $56bn in private credit.

In today’s statement, Nucleus CEO Richard Rowney said: “My whole team and I have really enjoyed working with Epiris to deliver the vision set out for this business in 2019.

“We’re now delighted to welcome HPS as the new majority investor and look forward to working with both them and Epiris as we continue to progress our exciting vision.

“It has been obvious from an early stage that their ambition for the business and commitment to support me and my management team to grow the business meant we are all completely aligned.

“While today’s news will not result in any immediate practical change, it is certainly a vote of confidence, not just in our strategy, but also in our people – the 650 dedicated colleagues who make up our business, with a sole focus of supporting advisers, and helping them make retirement more rewarding for their clients.”

It was announced in January that Mr Ferguson is joining investment technology company Seccl as chief executive.

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