South African finance giant snaps up innovative Bristol firm behind game-changing money advice app

May 9, 2014

Bristol firm, which harnessed technology to make it easy for individuals to manage their money, has been acquired by a major South African financial services group just a year after it launched its first product.

The rapidly fast growing firm, a virtual member of the University of Bristol’s SETsquared innovation hub, has already won widespread acclaim from both the technology and financial sectors for making highly-accessible technology that gives people total control and visibility of their entire financial affairs and an ability to manage this more effectively throughout their life.

Under the deal, which is awaiting regulatory approval, and its Money Hub app technology have been sold to the UK arm of Momentum, a South African-based financial services group listed on the South African stock exchange with a market capitalisation of £2.44bn.

Momentum manages client and shareholder assets of around £34bn and employs more than 16,500 people. Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed. founder and CEO Toby Hughes has a track record of innovation using technology to connecting consumers to financial products or advice.

In 2004, with a number of colleagues, he conceived Leadbay – a technology application that changed the way advisors could acquire clients. It quickly became a market leader, introducing more than 1m consumers into intermediary firms. The Bristol-based business went on to win awards and finished 20th in the Sunday Times list of UK’s fastest growing tech companies.

In 2010 he launched Blue Speck Financial to help people make choices over their financial futures and to access the necessary financial information, products or advice. Blue Speck launched as an information and product resource early last year and in August 2013 launched the MoneyHub app across phone, tablet and desktop to help people manage, track and gain visibility of their finances in a new way.

Toby said: “My vision when we set out was to empower people to make better choices over their financial futures by using our technology.  The deal gives us the opportunity to fast track development for both and MoneyHub app to accelerate that vision.

“Given the positioning and vision of Momentum, and its financial resources, we have reinforced our commitment to building one of the world’s most powerful financial technology solutions that will benefit both consumers and their advisers.”

The deal is the latest in a long line for businesses mentored by SETsquared, which is based at Bristol’s innovative Engine Shed.

Bristol SETsquared director Nick Sturge said: “Bristol has worldwide recognition for innovation in the aerospace, microelectronics and creative industries as well as being a centre for financial services. This exciting announcement proves that Bristol is also a centre for innovation in financial services, alongside other innovators such as Bristol company, Hargreaves Lansdown. We are delighted to have been help Toby and the team on their rapid ascent.”

Momentum UK CEO Ferdi van Heerden added: “The team at has demonstrated that they can develop game-changing technology solutions in a fast-changing financial services consumer space when they launched, and Money Hub in 2013. 

“We believe these technology solutions will continue to evolve and financially empower consumers across the UK (often in partnership with their advisors) by enabling them to track and to take control of their financial affairs as their needs change through their lives."

“At Momentum, we recognise the value of entrepreneurial thinking – the team clearly falls in this category and we are excited to have them as part of our team. We will continue to support them to deliver on their vision, with all the resources we have within our broader business.”

He said the acquisition was exciting for Momentum as it was in line with its South African financial wellness initiative aimed at providing consumers with pertinent information to assist them to manage their financial wellness accordingly.

“This acquisition ensures that the same holistic approach to financial wellness can be provided to our UK clients,” he said.

Aimed at people with anything from £5 to £50 million, and Money Hub offer access to information, products and financial advice. Most importantly, people are able to see their complete financial universe from liabilities to savings, investments to future plans. The technology synchronises across people's phone, tablet or desktop computer.

Money Hub is currently tracking £1.74bn of consumer assets for its registered users.

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