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James Hay to ‘address’ Nucleus staff concerns over £145m deal

They fear there will be a large number of jobs losses after it completes

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Members of staff at wrap platform Nucleus have aired their objections about the offer from James Hay to buy the company.

The board of Nucleus Financial Group recommended in February 2021 that shareholders accept the £145m ($200m, €165m) proposal tabled by James Hay.

However, according to UK newspaper The Times, a circular by the Nucleus’ People Representative Group (PRG) published on 6 March said that investors would vote on the deal at the end of this month.

The circular states the members are against the deal, mainly because of concerns over plans to move the underlying technology and operations of Nucleus to FNZ.

The PRG wants to know how many people would transfer to FNZ and any potential job losses that may follow.

‘Address these important points’

A spokesperson for James Hay said: “We note that the opinion raises some concerns and seeks various confirmations in relation to the impact on employees arising from the proposed operation of the combined group. We intend to address these important points after the effective date with the full engagement and collaboration of Nucleus.

“Indeed, we share the view of the PRG that a successful acquisition can only be achieved if the impact on people across the combined group is fully and meaningfully considered.

“We admire much about Nucleus and the skills within its team and look forward to working with them to better serve the growing needs of advisers.

“By joining forces, we can combine Nucleus’s reputation for great digital user-experience and James Hay’s pension specialism, creating greater strength and a platform with the scale to invest and deliver real value for advisers and their clients.”

Shareholder approval

The offer already has 55% approval from Nucleus shareholders including chief executive David Ferguson, directors Stuart Geard and James Samuels, as well as UK wealth firm Sanlam, which holds a 52.19% stake in Nucleus.

For the M&A deal to go ahead, the firm will need 75% of shareholders to approve the proposal.

The situation is fairly similar to the recent AFH dispute where its shareholders rejected a bid from private equity company Flexpoint Ford, which has recently upped its offer to £231.6m.

International Adviser has contacted Nucleus for a comment, but it did not reply in time for publication.

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