Navigating Growth with David Ferguson, CEO of Seccl

  • Thought Leadership
  • FWB Events

Together with our friends at Burness Paull, we hosted a scale-up breakfast on “Navigating Growth,” bringing together a group of financial services executives eager to listen to our speaker, David Ferguson. David is the CEO of Seccl, the Octopus backed embedded investment platform which is helping more people to invest – and invest well. 

He is a well-known fintech disruptor and highly respected figure across UK’s adviser community, David is also a passionate technologist and supporter of fintech – having served as Chairman of FinTech Scotland and Fintech Envoy for Scotland.

David generously shared invaluable insights from his entrepreneurial journey, including his experience founding Nucleus, which led to his current exciting venture with Seccl. Some key takeaways from his talk included:

  • Evolve your networks and seek out people who can help you grow. 
  • Alignment with customer outcomes should be your priority. Don’t hide out in head office, spend time where the business gets done.
  • Develop deep expertise and do the work to solve problems. Don’t seek to be a founder for the sake of it.
  • Risk is a deliberate process – your shareholders don’t want the return from government bonds so be clear on where you want to accept, avoid, and seek risk.
  • Compliance and operational resilience are commercially rational behaviours, rather than mere formalities to satisfy regulatory requirements. If someone says with trepidation that they need to get something signed off by compliance, tell them to go and do it properly first.
  • On values, be clear what you stand for but more importantly what you will tolerate. Be willing to have them cost you something.
  • Focus on building and developing effective teams.
  • Joining an established business in a leadership position is incredibly difficult. Be deliberate in your approach to leadership, it’s a thing in its own right.
  • Accept that things can go wrong and stay calm, resilience is under-rated.
  • Embrace imposter syndrome, it indicates you care.
  • Find time for self-reflection and prioritise weekly meetings with yourself.
  • You control nothing that you don’t own – shareholders decide in the end.

Some reading recommendations that came out of the session were:

  • Purple Cow – Seth Godin , who also has The Daily Blog by Seth Godin
  • Good Strategy Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt
  • GapingVoid – Culture Blog by Hugh Macleod
  • Brave New Work – Aaron Dignan
  • No Rules, Rules – Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer

David’s talk was followed by a convivial discussion with insights from a wide range of financial services businesses. Many thanks to David for speaking and to our co-hosts, Burness Paull.

To express interest in attending future FWB events, contact us at

Lindsay Cramond


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