Nucleus Financial Group reaches agreement on cash offer by James Hay Holdings

Nucleus Financial Group reaches agreement on cash offer by James Hay Holdings

David Ferguson

The board of Nucleus Financial Group has announced that it has reached agreement on the terms of an offer by James Hay Holdings Limited for Nucleus for a total consideration valuing Nucleus at c. £144.6 million.

The transaction will bring together the respective expertise of Nucleus and James Hay to create one of the UK’s leading independent adviser platforms with c. £45bn of assets under administration.

The combination will create a leading financial planning and retirement focused adviser platform with the scale to enable greater investment in technology, products and service to meet the needs of advisers and their clients.

Whilst there is no immediate change for advisers on either platform, separately James Hay has entered into a long-term partnership with FNZ for the provision of specialist platform technology and outsourced administration.

The medium-term intention is to optimise and align the target operating model of the combined group around Nucleus’ front-end user experience with continued investment into Nucleus’ front-end capabilities.

It is envisaged that underlying platform administration services for the Combined Group will be provided by FNZ over time in a measured and controlled way to ensure continuity for clients, with the migration of some technology and the platform administration of Nucleus’ assets from the existing arrangements onto FNZ’s technology and operations.

The board of Nucleus has recommended that its shareholders vote in favour of this transaction and Nucleus’ largest shareholder Sanlam, which owns 52.19%, has agreed to vote in favour of this transaction.

The acquisition is subject to various approvals, including from Nucleus shareholders and the FCA, and is expected to complete in the second quarter of 2021.

David Ferguson, CEO of Nucleus, commented: “Since we launched in 2006 we’ve always put the customer centre stage and while that has made us a little bit different, it’s carried us to £17.4bn in AUA and to a point where the sentiment of our users and our people has never been better.

“Becoming part of this enlarged group gives us a key role in a much bigger story where we can create a leading independent platform of scale with a high tech, high touch proposition and philosophy. I think the combination of our people’s talents and the size of the opportunity can see us carefully navigate the roadmap to deliver on this collective medium-term goal.

“I look forward to getting to know our new colleagues and moulding a group culture that is centred on doing the right thing and building a market-defining product that really delivers for advisers and their clients.”

Commenting on the offer, Richard Rowney, CEO of James Hay, added: “We are very excited to be announcing the creation of one of the leading, independent, adviser platforms, with over £45bn of AUA. The two businesses have complementary areas of expertise and common beliefs about the importance of independence and only serving the adviser market.

“We admire much about Nucleus and the skills within its team, and look forward to working with them to better serve the growing needs of advisers. By joining forces, we can combine Nucleus’ reputation for great digital user-experience and James Hay’s pension specialism, creating greater strength and a platform with the scale to invest and deliver real value for advisers and their clients.”

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