David Ferguson: Taking On Legacy Providers and Winning

It’s a  21st century David and Goliath story in retail financial services!

When ‘young,’ energetic, and passionate David Ferguson decided to take on big lifecos, by setting up an investment platform that would ‘hand power back to advisers and their clients,’ he was under no illusion about the magnitude of the task he’s taking on. But having worked on the dark side (initially for providers, and then under his own consultancy), he had seen how vulnerable traditional lifeco businesses were and he had ‘nothing to fear taking them on’

Five years and £7billion AUA later,  Nucleus is one of the fastest growing advisor platforms and is seen by competitors as being ‘in danger of becoming relevant

In this interview, the Nucleus CEO talks to Abraham Okusanya about how he went from being a computer geek at school to a ‘failed actuary,’ to setting up the platform in 2006. David took us right back to the beginning, when he and his cofounder Philip Martin sat down in an empty office on their first day in the business; all they had was £5m in the bank and a big idea but nothing else. So ‘they went out and bought some iMacs’

David shares his thoughts on the current challenges facing traditional life companies, and why advisers should be wary of falling platforms who bolt on asset management as a way to prop up their financials. We also talked about what some of the best planning firms using Nucleus have in common – relentless focus on client outcomes and strong operational efficiency.


Abraham Okusanya
Abraham is the founder of FinalytiQ, a research consultancy for platforms, asset managers, and advisory firms. Recognised as one of the country’s leading experts in retirement income, platforms and investment propositions, Abraham has authored several papers on these subjects and delivered talks to the Personal Finance Society, The FCA and several conferences across the country.

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