Interactive Investor have announced that they are being acquired by Abrdn, reportedly for £1.5 billion. Interactive Investor have been providing a popular and low-cost share dealing platform for private investors and have been owned by JC Flowers recently. Interactive acquired The Share Centre a few months back and now have about 400,000 clients.
At least it looks like Interactive Investor clients won’t have to learn their way around a new platform as there is a commitment to keep the business as a separate operating entity with existing management and the same pricing while Abrdn have relatively few direct retail clients. Abrdn are a large fund manager though so no doubt we will see the Interactive Investor platform promoting their funds in due course. But any changes might be of concern to existing Interactive clients.
The comment published in the FT is relevant: “The most successful platforms in recent years have been those independently owned, said David McCann, analyst at Numis. He said creeping bureaucracy, lack of management focus and the worst sin of trying to cross-sell products from the parent group to platform customers amount to very real risks for the success of the tie-up”.
That pretty much sums up my view of the likely benefits or disbenefits of this merger although clearly Abrdn have larger financial resources that might help Interactive Investor in an increasingly competitive platform world. But will large company management really understand the needs of retail investors?
Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson )
You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right in most browsers or by using the Contact page to send us a message requesting. You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.