Fintech Nucleus Financial Group cheers 2018 outcome

Nucleus Financial Group, the Edinburgh-based fintech business that floated on the stock market last year, has hailed its 12th successive year of growth in assets under administration, adviser users and customer numbers.

David Ferguson, the firms chief executive: 'Nucleus has grown strongly in recent years'. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Releasing a fourth-quarter trading update ahead of its full-year results, the firm said its performance had been achieved against a “challenging” market backdrop.

The solid outcome for the year came despite a dip in assets under administration (AUA) in the final quarter of 2018, reflecting a fall in markets overall.

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As of the end of last year, AUA stood at £13.9 billion, up 2.3 per cent on a year earlier. The firm noted that, by comparison, the FTSE All-Share Index had fallen by 13 per cent while the blue-chip FTSE-100 Index had decreased by 12.5 per cent during the same period.

Advisers actively using the company’s platform increased by 6 per cent to 1,396 over the year while customer numbers grew by 7 per cent to 93,715. Nucleus said net inflows for the period had been impacted by “continued investor caution”.

David Ferguson, the firm’s founder and chief executive, said: “Nucleus has grown strongly in recent years and, despite the challenging market backdrop, I am pleased to report our 12th successive year of growth in AUA, adviser users and customer numbers.

“Having listed the business in 2018 and reorganised our major outsourcing relationships, we are now focused on accelerating our growth within the sector.”

AUA for the fourth quarter of 2018 fell by 5.5 per cent, with the FTSE All-Share down 11 per cent and the FTSE-100 down by 10.4 per cent in the quarter. AUA has since recovered, the firm added, in line with market movements, to £14.2bn, as of 24 January.

Nucleus, which Ferguson set up with the backing of a number of financial advice firms in 2006, has developed software platforms that enable financial advisers to provide online access to clients for investments across ISAs, pensions and bond accounts.

The firm is seen as one of the biggest successes of Scotland’s fast-developing fintech sector.