Octopus Investments appoints real estate head as CEO

Octopus Investments has appointed Benjamin Davis, former chief executive of Octopus Real Estate, as its new chief executive.

Davis succeeds Ruth Handcock who will remain with the Octopus group and on the Octopus Investments board.

Handcock, who held the role for four years, will support Davis through a transition period in an advisory capacity before taking on a new role focused on helping “more people get access to help with their money”.

Octopus said in a statement that Handcock will continue to report to group chief executive, Simon Rogerson and chair for Octopus MoneyCoach, Seccl, and Guardian Angel.

Davis takes on the role having been with the Octopus Group for 12 years. 

He has held several roles across the business, including investment manager for Octopus Investments, fund manager for the Octopus Apollo Venture Capital Trust and chief executive for Octopus Healthcare.

Most recently he has been chief executive of Octopus Real Estate for the past four years. 

A New Zealand native, Davis worked in the venture capital, consulting and technology industries in London and New Zealand. 

Commenting on the appointment, Rogerson said it is the latest milestone for Davis in what has already been a “brilliant, varied career at Octopus”.

He added: “I have supreme confidence in his ability to lead Octopus Investments.

“It is a bittersweet moment, particularly for Octopus Investments customers and employees, to see Ruth move to another part of the group.

“Ruth has achieved an extraordinary amount during her four years as CEO and I can’t wait to see what I’m sure will be equally successful results in her new Octopus endeavour.”

Alongside the appointment, Octopus announced today that it will invest £50bn in “the people, ideas and industries that will change the world, by 2030”.

Chief investment officer at the firm, Jonathan Digges will lead these plans and the group will explore “new growth opportunities in areas adjacent to its current investment focus” to help it raise the capital to meet this target.

“To reach such a bold target will require new, disruptive ideas, something Octopus has always thrived on,” Rogerson said.

Commenting on the personnel change, Handcock said she is very proud of the work her teams achieved over the past four years. 

“I’ve learnt a huge amount from our customer-obsessed teams and I’m so proud, in particular, of them achieving a five star rating in the Financial Adviser Service Awards for nine years running,” she said.

“Perhaps even more powerfully I’ve learnt from our financial planning customers about the extraordinary power that conversations can have in delivering brilliant financial outcomes. I’m sad to leave Octopus Investments but the experience has strongly shaped my belief that more people should have access to these outcomes.”