Edinburgh-founded fintech platform gets green light for 'transformational' deal

Nucleus Financial Platform Group, the fintech business created following James Hay Partnership’s 2021 takeover of Edinburgh-based Nucleus Financial, has been given the green light for a “transformational” deal that creates one of the largest adviser platforms in the UK.
Richard Rowney, group chief executive of Nucleus: 'We’re creating one of the largest adviser platform groups in the UK.'Richard Rowney, group chief executive of Nucleus: 'We’re creating one of the largest adviser platform groups in the UK.'
Richard Rowney, group chief executive of Nucleus: 'We’re creating one of the largest adviser platform groups in the UK.'

The firm said its acquisition of Curtis Banks Group had now received all necessary regulatory approvals. First announced in January, the deal to bring together Nucleus and Curtis Banks will create a retirement-focused adviser platform with some £80 billion of assets under administration. Nearly 5,000 advisers representing around 250,000 customers will be able to tap into the investment service.

The Financial Conduct Authority, Prudential Regulation Authority, and Solicitors Regulation Authority have all issued their approvals for the acquisition, and the Competition and Markets Authority has concluded that the deal does not qualify for investigation under UK merger control law.

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Bosses said that in a market where “scale is increasingly important”, the move would enable further investments in technology, people, products, price and service. For the immediate future, both businesses will continue to operate independently. Peter Docherty, currently interim chief executive of Curtis Banks, will continue to lead the Curtis Banks business reporting to Richard Rowney, group chief executive of Nucleus. It is expected that in time, Curtis Banks will be rebranded as Nucleus.

In August 2021, James Hay Partnership acquired Edinburgh-founded Nucleus Financial in a £145 million deal and combined both businesses to create a wider group with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Salisbury. Over the last couple of years, the group is said to have overhauled and “significantly invested in its senior management team”.

Rowney said: “We are pleased to have now received regulatory approval, and look forward to completing this transformational deal in the coming weeks. We’ll then start working closely with our new colleagues at Curtis Banks to bring together our businesses and provide a best-in-class service to the advisers we serve. We’re creating one of the largest adviser platform groups in the UK with assets under administration of circa £80bn.”

The acquisition was approved by Curtis Banks shareholders in February and remains subject to a court sanction hearing. It is expected to complete in the coming weeks.

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