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Octopus acquires wealthtech start-up ‘Seccl’ as it sets out to disrupt the platform market

Octopus Group, the London headquartered financial services and energy firm, has agreed a deal to acquire Seccl Technology Limited for £10 million – subject to regulatory approval – as it sets out to disrupt the platform technology market that underpins retail financial services.

The acquisition comes at a time when many adviser and wealth management firms are struggling with rising costs and limitations of legacy systems, and where there is a growing pressure to provide customers with a smoother and more intuitive user experience. 

Founded in 2017 and based in Bath, Seccl aims to help financial advisers, wealth managers, discretionary fund managers and fintechs deliver faster, cheaper and more flexible platform solutions to help manage and administer clients’ money.

Seccl does this using its best in class open API custody solution, allowing businesses of any size to rapidly build bespoke new investment platforms more easily and at a lower cost. API technology allows different pieces of software to communicate and share information in real time, and, as a result, businesses using Seccl can customise and control the client experience and integrate easily with other services, reducing the administrative burden some firms currently face.

The underlying technology of Seccl is built using modern, modular software architecture that makes it scalable, customisable and easy to change or update. In practice, this allows Seccl to operate much faster than larger competitors, significantly reducing set-up and onboarding times and lowering the barrier to entry for smaller firms currently priced out of the market.

In addition to the £10 million acquisition, Octopus will provide continued investment as it grows the business. Once the deal completes, it will look to expand the Seccl team with new engineering, product and design staff, some of whom will move over from Octopus Wealth.

For smaller advice firms who might prefer an ‘off-the-shelf’ solution, Seccl and Octopus will also build a full-service platform offering investment integration alongside Octopus Cash, the Octopus Investments cash management solution. Customers holding cash on the platform will, therefore, have easy access to a top tier interest rate.

Simon Rogerson, CEO and co-founder of Octopus Group, comments:

“We are delighted to welcome the Seccl team into Octopus Group. Millions of us use platform technology everyday whether for online banking or managing investments. It determines our user experience and investment costs. But it’s a market crying out for change. Seccl’s innovative technology has the potential to completely transform the customer and client experience across retail financial services. The market opportunity is enormous and we are all excited by its potential.”

David Harvey, co-founder of Seccl, said:

“It has always been abundantly clear that Octopus shares in our vision and I wholeheartedly believe that together we can create something incredibly powerful. The platform technology space hasn’t changed in 10 years and, with a handful of firms now dominating the market, the time couldn’t be better for some new competition.

 “Having created Seccl from scratch, rather than building on legacy systems, we operate with a fraction of the code base, which means we are cheaper, can move faster, and are ultimately open to smaller firms that can’t get a shoe in with the big providers today.”

Hugo Thorman, co-founder of Seccl, added:

“The industry is on the cusp of a fundamental shift in the way it uses technology and I have always believed that our API-first technology would radically disrupt the market. With Octopus’ backing and expertise we are now well positioned to make this happen and drive change even faster.”

The current 13 strong team at Seccl, led by its founders CEO David Harvey and Chairman Hugo Thorman, will retain their base in Bath while also working from London. Subject to regulatory approval, David Harvey will remain as co-head of Seccl, working alongside new co-head Sam Handfield-Jones, currently the Director of Growth and Innovation at Octopus. Hugo will remain as a director working on strategy and customer relationships.

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For journalists in their professional capacity only. Issued by Octopus Group August 2019.