London wealth manager Shard takes stake in Dublin investment tech platform Omnium

Both companies plan to use strategic tie-up as launch pad for European expansion

Toby Raincock, Shard’s chief executive. ‘The Brexit referendum result gave us cause to consider a number of solutions around how best to expand our service offering into the EU. Ireland felt like a natural jurisdictional fit’

Toby Raincock, Shard’s chief executive. ‘The Brexit referendum result gave us cause to consider a number of solutions around how best to expand our service offering into the EU. Ireland felt like a natural jurisdictional fit’

 

Shard Capital, a city of London wealth management firm, has agreed to buy a 50 per cent stake in Dublin-based investment technology platform Omnium.

The deal, subject to clearance from financial regulators at the Central Bank, gives Shard access to Omnium’s investment technology and also to the European Union market, which it says is important after Brexit.

Omnium, meanwhile, gains Shard’s financial backing to fund growth and it will use the strategic tie-up to expand its services across Europe.

Omnium, based in Sandyford in Dublin, was founded in 2014 by investors including James Guerin, who runs a property development firm in Berlin, Natulis. Omnium has been backed by Enterprise Ireland.

Shard, meanwhile, already had links to Ireland as a fund manager for tech-focused venture capital firm Sure Valley Ventures, which has backed Irish start-ups such as online grocery shopping app Buymie.

Shard says its links to Sure Valley gave it access to a “network” that led it to Omnium, which had been seeking investment. Omnium supplies technology to investment advisers and wealth managers to help them to manage diverse assets and execute their trades on one platform.

“The Brexit referendum result gave us cause to consider a number of solutions around how best to expand our service offering into the EU. Ireland felt like a natural jurisdictional fit,” said Toby Raincock, Shard’s chief executive, who has joined Omnium’s board.

Christopher Ovenden, Omnium’s chief executive, described Omnium as a “financial plumber” for wealth managers as investment management becomes increasingly driven by technology.

He suggested demand for its platform “shot through the roof” over the last year of the pandemic, squeezing five years of a digital shift into one. The business has already begun to expand in Europe.

“This deal is a vote of confidence in the business. It has also been one of the few positives we have seen from Brexit,” said Mr Ovenden.

Fellow director

Mr Guerin and his brother and fellow director Declan Guerin have stepped down from the board of Omnium, whose advisers include Justin Cullen, the former director of Core marketing who also recently helped to steer Joe.ie owner Maximum Media through a complex restructuring.

Mr Ovenden said some shareholders in Omnium had sold their shares to Shard. Documents filed for the Dublin group’s parent, Naperte, also show Shard pumped in €522,500 to fund it over the summer. Omnium’s latest accounts, for 2019, show annual losses were €418,000 as it grew its business.

Shard Capital, which manages investments in artificial intelligence and virtual reality, as well as a lending fund for SMEs, is based in the London City skyscraper known as the “Walkie Talkie”, which sits directly across the river Thames from the building well known as the Shard.