Nucleus Financial to buy Curtis Banks in £242m deal

Nucleus Financial's Edinburgh HQ

Edinburgh-based retirement adviser platform Nucleus Financial has agreed to buy Bristol-based SIPP provider Curtis Banks in a £242 million cash deal, taking Nucleus’ assets under administration to £80 billion.

Nucleus is currently majority owned by US private equity firm HPS Investment Partners (HPS), with London-based private equity firm retaining a significant minority stake.

Nucleus said it will pay £3.50 per Curtis Banks share, a 32.1% premium to the closing price before the commencement of the offer period, representing a total equity value for Curtis Banks of £242 million on a fully diluted basis.

“The combination of Curtis Banks’ award-winning SIPP and SSAS product offering and strong presence as a provider to customers with complex retirement needs with Nucleus’ established reputation in the UK platform market will create a comprehensive proposition to support financial advisers and their customers across the full wealth spectrum,” said Nucleus, which has offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Salisbury.

Advisers currently served by Curtis Banks will also benefit from access to a broader suite of platform services available within the Nucleus Group’s existing offering, including ISAs, GIAs and onshore and offshore bonds.

The Nucleus board believes that this improved product offering can be further strengthened by harmonising Curtis Banks’ customer strategy and governance frameworks with those of the Nucleus Group and utilising the combined group’s larger customer support function to continue to deliver positive experiences and outcomes for its customers.

“In addition, Nucleus believes that the combined group will benefit from enhanced scale enabling efficiencies and further investment in technology and service, strengthening the combined group’s offering to financial advisers and their customers.”

Nucleus Group CEO Richard Rowney said: “We’re delighted to be announcing today the acquisition of Curtis Banks, which on completion will become part of our leading independent adviser platform group, with approximately £80 billion in combined AuA.

“Our ambition remains to create the UK’s leading platform, exclusively for financial advisers to help them make retirement more rewarding for their customers.

“We’re already demonstrating the benefits of scale, enabling investment in technology, people, products, price and service.

“As one of the UK’s largest independent SIPP and SSAS providers, Curtis Banks not only adds significant scale to our business, but will complement our existing expertise and benefit our combined adviser base providing added flexibility and optionality.”

Curtis Banks executive chairman David Barral said: “The board of Curtis Banks is pleased to be recommending the Nucleus Group’s offer for the company, which represents a significant premium in cash and offers certain value for our shareholders.

“Curtis Banks recognises Nucleus’ established reputation and strength in the adviser platform market, as well as our shared customer-centric approach and aligned corporate values.

“We believe that the combined group’s greater scale, efficient platform, broader product proposition and enhanced ability to invest in technology and service will benefit all stakeholders.”