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Octopus wealthtech acquisition looks to disrupt platform market

18 August 2019

Octopus Group has agreed a deal to acquire Seccl Technology Limited for £10 million, with the aim of disrupting the platform technology market, which Octopus Group CEO Simon Rogerson said is “crying out for change”.

Seccl says it aims to help financial advisers, wealth managers, discretionary fund managers and fintechs deliver faster, cheaper and more flexible platform solutions.

It uses an open API custody solution, allowing businesses of any size to build bespoke new investment platforms, faster, 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.

The underlying technology uses modular software architecture, which means it is scalable, customisable and easy to change or update.

This, Seccl says, allows it to operate much faster than larger competitors, significantly reducing set-up and onboarding times, as well as 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 also aim to build a full-service platform offering investment integration alongside Octopus Cash, the Octopus Investments cash management solution.

Seccl was founded in 2017 and is based in Bath. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval.

Simon Rogerson, CEO and co-founder of Octopus Group (pictured), said the market is “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, added: “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.”

The current team of 13 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, 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. Thorman will remain as a director working on strategy and customer relationships.

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