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Sad death at 43 of ex-Barclays banker and fintech founder

Nick Hungerford, the founder of fintech Nutmeg, died last Thursday.

Hungerford, who was 43, suffered from a rare and terminal bone cancer, which was diagnosed in 2019.

A banker by training and profession, his story from old world wealth management to conceptualizing Nutmeg in California was a remarkable one.

After graduating from Exeter University in 2002 with a business degree, Hungerford joined Barclays’ graduate scheme, rotating around the bank’s numerous offices. “The time I spent up in Glasgow working with the back-office teams was formative in helping me understand how this industry works,” he told Money Marketing a few years ago.

Spending time with the technologists had a foundational impact on his experiences and formed his impression on the financial services sector. “Just looking at traditional businesses, the front-office wields so much power. That is totally at odds with most modern businesses where the technology wields the power,” he told Money Marketing.

In 2008, after five years at Barclays, Hungerford joined Brewin Dolphin (the wealth manager, now owned by RBC) alongside fellow Barclays wealth manager Michael Murphy, both becoming divisional directors of investment management. He didn’t stay long – less than a year, in fact – and left for Stanford to pursue an MBA before the end of the year.

But why leave banking?

“It was really in 2007 that I started to understand I wasn’t really the person I wanted to be,” he explains. “I was not tremendously proud of how I was acting at that point, and I decided to take myself away from that environment,” he said. “Working in banking gives you a sense of self-importance and it changed my personality.”

What would eventually become Nutmeg was conceptualized in 2010 as “a dating website, matching wealth managers and customers,” in Hungerford’s own words to finews. The idea eventually morphed from dating to what is now, a more no-strings-attached approach based on pre-established investment goals and risk appetites.

After six months of attempting to raise capital, with 45 rejections in the process, Hungerford secured funding a Nutmeg was born, being registered with companies house on the 24th of January 2011 (as “Hungry Finance Limited”, initially).

Just ten years later, Hungerford's reformed "dating" app was bought by JPMorgan, for £700m ($907m).

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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