Execution-only platform Selftrade is to transfer its entire client bank and brand to business service outsourcing group Equiniti- following a strategic review, with parent company Boursorama exiting the UK.
A statement on the Selftrade website last week confirmed that the move will conclude in the fourth quarter of 2014. The platform has about £4bn of assets under administration and 200,000 clients.
The statement says: “We reviewed several offers from interested parties, having uppermost in our mind the need to closely match Selftrade’s values, customer pricing and service proposition and allow for a seamless transition.
“We already work closely with Equiniti in a number of areas, including its ongoing provision of custody services to Selftrade, and are confident this will be achieved.”
Selftrade parent Boursorama, part of Société Générale, announced last week it is to quit UK business and, as a result, net income will be close to zero because of the cost of the exit.
Equiniti has its own direct-to-consumer platform called Shareview, which launched in September 2000.
It has not been revealed whether Equiniti paid an amount to take on the Selftrade business and Equiniti has yet to comment on the deal. It is unclear whether the Selftrade brand will be retained or whether it could be merged with Equiniti’s existing direct platform.
Selftrade has been plagued with problems in recent months. In April, the firm announced it was considering changes to its client data requests after receiving a number of complaints about the intrusiveness of its requests.
The Platforum head of direct Jeremy Fawcett says: “Selftrade’s attempt to combine banking and investing ticked lots of boxes for consumers. But it got into horrible difficulties on the requirements for those holding a UK banking licence. This appears to have been catastrophic for this stalwart of online investing.
“From Equiniti’s perspective, it already has access to millions of investors from the days of paper-based investing and providing them with a good internet solution makes a lot of sense.
“Selftrade has some progressive features and a fairly well-known brand, which are of great value as direct platforms continue to catch the eye of the consumer.”
January 2013: Selftrade suspends taking on new clients after discussions with the FCA
May 2013: Selftrade tells Money Marketing it has been suffering ongoing technology problems on its website, with some clients unable to access their accounts. A letter sent to clients as part of their annual statement acknowledges the problems
December 2013: The firm’s parent company, Boursorama, writes down the value of the business by around €42m (£35.1m) because of regulatory demands and delayed IT migration
January 2014: Selftrade gives up its status as a bank after two years, reducing its responsibilities under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The move takes effect from 29 March and means Selftrade no longer holds deposit-taking permissions and instead outsources this to other banks
April 2014: Selftrade writes to clients requesting additional anti-money laundering information, including a request asking where clients have made their wealth. A number of clients hit out at the move, prompting the platform to review its data requests
May 2014: Selftrade announces on its website that all clients and the brand will transfer to business outsourcing group Equiniti. Parent company Boursorama exits its UK business