The start of the journey
The Share Centre was established in April 1991 by Gavin Oldham to provide self-select share services for a broad range of personal investors. In 1993, The Share Centre was appointed a ‘share shop’ for the British Telecom BT3 share offer. This, coupled with other share offerings including National Power / Powergen in 1995, contributed large numbers of Share Accounts.
In 1999, The Share Centre acquired Bradford & Bingley’s corporate PEP business, considerably extending the Group’s corporate share service relationships. The acquisition resulted in the transfer of approximately 90,000 PEPs to The Share Centre in April 1999.
On 8 February 2000, Share plc made an offer of free shares to customers of The Share Centre who had either stock or cash in their Share Accounts, or who had opened fully subscribed Maxi ISAs, as at 8 January 2000 (the “Year 2000 Offer”). As a consequence of this offer over 90,000 customers of The Share Centre became shareholders in Share plc.
In conjunction with the Year 2000 Offer, The Share Centre developed and implemented its own share trading platform, Sharemark. Initially designed to facilitate the trading of Share plc’s shares, Sharemark evolved into a trading platform to other unquoted companies as well as to existing quoted companies seeking a secondary trading platform for liquidity purposes.
On 19 February 2001, Share plc made a further offer of free shares (the “Year 2001 Offer”). The Year 2001 Offer was designed to incentivise new and existing customers to subscribe for certain of The Share Centre’s eligible accounts, including ISAs, and to join in Share plc's future as shareholders.
During 2001 and 2002, The Share Centre extended its range of corporate share services through the provision of SIP administration services to third parties, following the launch of a SIP for its own employees in December 2000. Such services were initially established for Express Dairies plc (now Arla Foods plc), Christian Salvesen plc and Hyder Consulting plc.
In August 2002, The Share Centre acquired the business of StockAcademy Limited, a Cambridge-based retail stockbroker and some 18,983 investors’ share dealing accounts were transferred to The Share Centre. These accounts included several white label accounts.
The Share Centre also took over StockAcademy’s commercial relationship with Georgeson Shareholder, which involved the white label administration and dealing arrangements for high volume, low cost share dealing services to corporate companies, as well as missing shareholder programmes. Between 2002 and 2004, The Share Centre executed some 200,000 transactions in such services administered for Barclays plc, Aviva plc, Centrica plc and Rank Group plc. In December 2003, Georgeson Shareholder was acquired by a share registration business.
In 2003, The Share Centre launched an EIS administration service for third party fund managers in HM Revenue and Customs (“HMRC”) approved and unapproved EIS portfolios and The Share Centre launched its Shares4Schools initiative, a national competition aiming to encourage students to learn about the world of business. The Group benefits from positive public relations exposure from the Shares4Schools initiative.
In January 2005, The Share Centre became an HMRC-approved plan manager for CTFs.
In 2005, The Share Centre undertook a comprehensive re-branding exercise and refurbishment of its website prior to committing to a significant annual promotional budget of approximately £2 million per annum. It also adopted a benchmarked revenue share Key Performance Indicator for 2006 onwards.
In 2006, The Share Centre acquired 3,040 corporate PEPs from a share registration business and in November 2007 acquired over 1,050 corporate PEPs and over 280 corporate ISAs from Prudential Personal Equity Plans Limited.
During 2007 the Group also completed the reorganisation of its investment management subsidiary, Sharefunds. Sharefunds began overseeing the provision of administration services for fund managers wishing to manage their own OEICs, without them performing the related administration work.
In January 2008, the Company launched the 2008 Free Shares Offer to both potential and existing customers. The maximum number of Free Shares available under the 2008 Free Shares Offer was 4,000,000. The 2008 Free Shares Offer which closed at 6.00 p.m. on 3 April 2008, was principally designed to encourage customers and potential customers to invest in eligible account services. The Directors believed that the ability for both existing and new customers and shareholders to take part in the 2008 Free Shares Offer offered opportunity for adding to the growth of the Group and that by linking high quality and high volume customer business with participation in Share plc, growth could be accelerated.
The admission of the ordinary shares of Share plc to trading on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange and PLUS Market took place in May 2008.
2009 saw an expansion of our Sharefunds fund administration business. This was facilitated by an agreement in October 2009 with WAY Fund Managers Limited to supply fund accounting services for the collective funds they manage and administer. In accordance with the agreement, Share plc also made a minority investment in their holding company WAY Group Limited.
In 2011 The Share Centre expanded its range of services with the introduction of the Junior Individual Savings Account (JISA). A marketing rebranding exercise was launched in 2011, using icons rather than photography in its advertising and brochure ware.
The first six months of 2012 saw the introduction of two new ISA products. A new online only Self select stocks and shares ISA, which has a fixed administration fee, along with three Ready-made ISAs, based on SF Portfolio of funds by our sister company Sharefunds. In June 2012 approx 4,500 customers were transferred from Isle of Man online broker JPJshare.In October 2012 The Share Centre sold Sharemark Limited, together with its corporate customer contracts, related marketing rights, the Sharemark brand name, domain names and website to Asset Match. Also, following a strategic review, the Board decided to concentrate the Sharefunds business primarily on its existing in-house funds and to reduce its third party activities by ending the agreement with WAY Fund Managers Limited and outsourcing its fund accounting business for in-house funds to BNP Paribas. Furthermore in 2012, The Share Centre launched an Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) administration service for third party fund managers in HM Revenue and Customs (“HMRC”) approved and unapproved SEIS portfolios.
In 2013 The Share Centre announced a new ‘clean class’ investment policy for customers holding and purchasing funds through The Share Centre. In March our new website www.share.com was launched. June saw the change in administration fees, moving from quarterly to monthly fees. This change includes the introduction of a postal surcharge of £1.00 per month per account, if the customer decides to take their contract notes and account statements by post rather than by email. In December we launched a new Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) in conjunction with pension specialist Curtis Banks.
In March 2015 The Share Centre announced that it had signed a three year contract with Barclays Stockbrokers to provide certificated dealing services to customers introduced to it by Barclays. In November 2015 The Share Centre signed an agreement with Henderson Global Investors Limited to acquire their remaining Investment Trust ISA accounts and in December 2015 it announced another agreement with Barclays to acquire up to 3,000 nominee share dealing accounts serviced by Barclays Stockbrokers.
In February 2016, Sharefunds announced that it was in advanced discussions to transfer our ACD role to another party. This move was approved by the FCA in January 2017 and the transfer of the Sharefunds business to Treasury Capital was completed in April 2017. The Share Centre will become the manager of the SF Portfolio ICVC.
On 6th April 2016 The Share Centre launched the flexible feature on all of their adult ISAs, one of the first ISA managers to do this.
The Share Centre become an important provider of custodian and administration services to EIS, SEIS & Business Property Relief fund managers and is now providing these facilities to over 200 funds. In April The Share Centre acquired over 5,000 ISA customers from Invesco and in May it launched new a third party administration services for Computershare clients, providing account services and dealing for their corporate nominee customers and non-enrolled customers.
Where we are today
During 2018 The Share Centre continued to pursue its growth strategy, hitting significant milestones including £5billion of assets under administration and seeing our own funds of funds pass the £100million investment mark.
More recently, The Share Centre acquired the majority of the business of Beaufort Securities Limited out of special administration, in the process allowing some 38,000 Beaufort clients to access and trade their investments under our award-winning brand after a lengthy period of suspension and uncertainty.