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Nucleus confirms new structure after FCA concerns

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Nucleus chief executive David Ferguson

Nucleus has confirmed advisers will be able to continue to hold shares in the platform post-RDR however their stake will no longer be determined by assets placed on the platform.

Earlier this month, Nucleus announced it was reviewing its business model which allowed advisers to take a proportion of shares based on the assets they put with the platform.

Nucleus’ 2012 accounts confirm the regulator said this structure is in breach of adviser charging rules.

Under its new structure, advisers will be able to purchase shares in Nucleus on a transactional basis only.

A note sent to advisers today says: “We were encouraged to note that the FSA was absolutely content (and arguably even happy) for advisers to invest in platform operators. The regulator appears to appreciate the governance, oversight, risk management and efficiency benefits that this can offer provided the usual suitability and conflict of interest matters have been appropriately addressed.”

Adviser shareholdings make up 51 per cent of the business but this could rise in future. Sanlam currently owns 42 per cent with Nucleus management holding the remaining 7 per cent.

Chief executive David Ferguson says: “We have had to make a change to the way the ownership of the business works. Advisers will still be able to be shareholders but their holding will no longer be related to the amount of business they place with Nucleus.”

Nucleus is yet to confirm when the new structure will launch. Adviser shareholdings under the previous structure were frozen on 30 December.

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Comments

There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Still not ideal.

    It is pretty obvious that shareholders require a return. Returns are determined by the fortunes of a company. Ergo the incentive to pump business to a platform in which you own shares. I’m surprised the Regulator is standing for adviser ownership at all in these circumstances. I wonder if all shareholders openly declare the potential conflict of interest as they are bound to do under the regs.

  2. @ Harry your argument is flawed in the sense that advisers should also be banned from investing directly in the shares of fund groups or lenders where they recommend mortgage products too?

    As long as the firm recognises there is a potential conflict of interest, has this documented and declared where applicable then I do not see too much of an issue with it.

  3. @ Harry Katz – is a declared interest, coupled with overriding suitability requirements, not enough to manage the conflict of share ownership?

  4. Compliance Gnu 31st July 2013 at 9:36 am

    So what’s the catch for Nucleus?

    They have built a business based on something they shouldn’t have done and which was obviously dubious for a long time.

    If you gain from your wrongdoing what kind of message does that send to those firms trying to do the right thing?

    There’s a very poor message here…

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