Nucleus swoops to lure more Standard Life executives

EDINBURGH-based Nucleus Financial has pounced on Standard Life for the third time this year to poach more key staff from the insurance giant.

Nucleus, which operates a "wrap" platform allowing Independent Financial Advisers to view all of their clients' investments online in one account, has raided Standard Life to hire Aileen Smith as head of business performance and Jeff Spence as wrap operations director, Scotland on Sunday has learned.

The move follows the recent appointment of Leanne Prowse, previously head of legal for Standard Life's wrap, as head of legal, risk and compliance at Nucleus. Prowse, who also became company secretary, reports to chief financial officer Aileen Mathieson, who was chief executive at Standard Life Savings before joining Nucleus earlier this year.

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David Ferguson, founder and chief executive of Nucleus, said: "These appointments are confirmation of our desire to recruit the brightest talent in the retail financial services industry and are all significant additions as we seek to execute our growth strategy. We are trying to attract the best talent to the business and having a close competitor on our doorstep means it's inevitable that some will come from there."

Ferguson claimed the company is now in a position of strength and well positioned to benefit from reforms to the IFA market. Changes coming into force in 2012 as part of the retail distribution review (RDR) include a ban on the commission paid to IFAs by product providers such as life insurers, plus stringent new qualification requirements for advisers wishing to remain fully independent.

Ferguson believes the reforms will shift the balance of power even further away from traditional providers in favour of wrap platforms, which account for a rapidly increasing share of investment business.

He said: "We have big plans for the business and strategically couldn't be better placed to maximise the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities offered by the introduction of the RDR."

The Nucleus platform now holds over 1.5 billion of assets and in April recorded its first profitable month, three and a half years after launching.

Standard Life declined to comment.

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