Ingage reveals new FTSE 100 client sign-ups
London-based corporate access platform ingage, which launched in January, has revealed an updated client list in the run-up to new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules governing the use of client commissions.
The firm, which charges institutional clients as well as companies for the use of its service, now counts ArcelorMittal, Travis Perkins, Halfords and Italian systems integration firm Reply among its client base, as well as original sign-ups Nestlé, National Grid and Tullow Oil. ‘Another three clients, including two [more] from the FTSE 100, are currently moving through the integration process,’ says ingage in a press release.
On the institutional side, where clients pay a sliding cost depending on their operations and the service they require, ingage now has seven firms signed up. As well as big-win Fidelity, the Children’s Investment Fund Management hedge fund and Hengistbury have added their fund managers to the platform, while ‘four more major institutions… will be announced as being on board in the second half of the year.’
He might not be able to reveal the names of all those in the process of signing up to the ingage platform, but founder Michael Hufton says the service now has ‘some other very big names, some big international groups.’ Speaking to IR Magazine, he explains that he’s happy with the company’s progress so far – and with the FCA set to reveal new rules on the use of client commissions in paying for corporate access in a matter of weeks, he’s anticipating a burst of interest.
‘For us, the next couple of months – and really the last couple of months – have been about laying the groundwork and showing people what can be done, with a view to people making decisions after [the FCA publishes its new rules],’ he says. ‘A lot of the investment groups are waiting for that [announcement] before finally showing their hands and deciding what they’re going to do.’
Despite the new sign-ups, the same challenges ingage faced at launch remain. ‘The biggest challenge we face is our main competitor, if we take the sell side as one big group,’ explains Hufton. ‘The issue is that we’re asking [companies] to pay for something that, at the moment, they nominally get for free.’
For corporates, a subscription to ingage costs £3,000 a year. ‘They think the pricing’s pretty cheap,’ he says. ‘The issue isn’t the price, it’s the budget; IR directors will say, I’ve got a problem in justifying to my CFO that I need to pay for something I can get for free elsewhere – even if it’s conflicted.’
Hufton is confident that attitude will change following the FCA announcement, however, when he expects more companies to start seriously considering corporate access alternatives. ‘I’d like to think the number of companies we have offers us the critical mass we need,’ he says. ‘I think 10 is enough to make us credible and competitive at these price points. What needs to happen now is for the big names we have signed up on the institutional side to declare themselves; that will tip the companies over. Once you’re at 20 clients, the next 10 will be that much easier.’