Octopus expands its shareholding in Seccl as co-founders Dave Harvey and Hugo Thorman depart

Octopus will grow its shareholding in Seccl, the fast-growing embedded investment platform, as its two co-founders depart the business.

Seccl was founded by Dave Harvey and Hugo Thorman after their departure from Ascentric, which Hugo led as CEO and Dave supported in a number of senior technology roles. The pair deliberately designed the company around modern, cloud-native and API-first software principles, in a bid to usher in a new era within the platform market – one characterised by operational efficiency, lowered costs, improved customer experience, and rapid and continued product innovation.

Octopus acquired Seccl in 2019 – while still pre-market – providing strong financial backing and allowing it to accelerate its technology investment in preparation for future growth. Since then, the firm has developed a number of market-leading products, services and tools, including its fully automated SIPP, which launched last year.

In 2022, Seccl welcomed David Ferguson as its new CEO – previously founder and CEO of Nucleus Financial Group, the Edinburgh-based financial adviser platform that he led to £20bn in assets under administration (AUA), prior to its £145m acquisition and his subsequent departure in September 2021. Under David’s leadership, the company has recruited a new and highly experienced executive team to guide the company through its next chapter of growth.

Harvey and Thorman depart 11th March, with Octopus opting to expand its majority stake in the business.

Dave Harvey, co-founder of Seccl, commented: “I started Seccl with the belief that change was desperately needed and having taken that idea from its humble beginnings in a garden shed to where the company is today, it feels the right time to step away. Under David’s leadership and with an experienced and now well embedded senior team, I know that the company is in safe hands – and have every faith that it will continue to flourish.”

Hugo Thorman, co-founder of Seccl, said: “It has been a career highlight to work with Dave to deliver the change our industry so desperately needed. And while I’ll be moving on, I won’t be moving far – I look forward to continuing to interact with Seccl in my position as Chair of P1 Investment Management, whose award-winning, Seccl-powered P1 Platform continues to raise the bar of excellence, dramatically improving the platform experience for advisers and clients alike.”

David Ferguson, CEO of Seccl, said: “Dave and Hugo have built a special legacy for which we are all indebted – not just Seccl, but the market at large. There are very few people who make the leap and take a chance on something entirely new. They did – fuelled by Dave’s extraordinary vision, drive and unwavering belief in better, and commercialised by Hugo, a pillar of our industry who it has been great to work alongside as an accomplice, after many years in competition.

“Seccl has a tremendous opportunity to reimagine what good looks like in our space. As we begin to build significant traction, I remain hugely grateful to both of them for their support – and for starting such a special business that I’m proud to lead.”

Ruth Handcock, chair of Seccl and board member of Octopus Group, added: “Seccl is a once-in-a-generation business, on the cusp of dramatically redefining the economics and customer expectations of our industry. Octopus was convinced of its potential back in 2019 when we first acquired the business – and is all the more convinced today, after watching the company continue to grow from strength to strength over the past four years. With David at the helm, supported by the executive team that he has built over the last year or so, the company is perfectly positioned to win – and we at Octopus are with them for the journey.”