Novia Financial already has around £3.2bn in assets on its UK platform and is one of the established players in the country’s sophisticated post-RDR financial adviser market. Its chief executive and one of Novia’s founders is Bill Vasilieff and the chairman is former IBM UK chairman Sir Anthony Cleaver.
The offshore platform will be offered through a new venture called Novia Global, 23% of which will be owned by Novia Financial and the rest by investors including board members Bill Vasilieff and non-executive director Andrew Staley, who is chairman of Marlborough Fund Managers.
Speaking to International Adviser, Vasilieff, who will also be chief executive of Novia Global, said its initial market cap will be £6.5m and that he had been personally looking at the offshore market for over two years.
“We formed the business about three months ago and a project team is working on it already with plans to go live in May or June.
“There is no platform in the offshore market similar to what we are launching – the type of platform that has taken over the UK market in about 12 years that includes open architecture and the use of technology straight through processing.”
Based in Bath, where the main business is, an application is underway for Financial Conduct Authority authorisation, with the money being held in Jersey using custodian BNP Paribas.
The offering is aimed at expats from any country in the world, so not just UK people based overseas.
Vasilieff said a key reason for the launch is that “the UK is seen as a very trusted place to be, known for its investment expertise, and it’s politically safe so it is a very big attraction for those living in less stable environments.”
Another important consideration was that “the markets around the world are going to follow the UK in terms of RDR-type regulation and transparency. A lot the offshore markets are very much where the UK was 15 or 20 years ago.”
Initial target markets are Europe, Gibraltar, Switzerland and Dubai, and as soon as possible thereafter Hong Kong and Singapore. Other potential places further down the line will be the Caribean, Russia and South Africa.
Distribution will focus on offshore IFAs, trust companies and private banks.
The main difference with the offshore version will be the multi-currencies available, starting with sterling, euros, and dollars, facilitated through the technology of software provider GBST Wealth Management.
There will also be a white-labelled offshore bond, set up through RL360°, and a similar arrangement with a QROPS provider which is currently being finalised.
The Novia Global board will also have finance director Paul Parry, operations director Shaun Allwright, non-executive chairman John Beaumont, and non-executive director Donald Mackinnon, an investor.