Global financial services giant Synechron has acquired Crossbridge, a specialist consultancy with offices in London, New York and Singapore. The move bolsters Synechron’s presence in Europe’s key financial hub, and further expands its growing management consulting footprint.
Founded in 2008 by Tim Cuddeford and Ted Rees, Crossbridge works with clients in the financial services sector to improve their operating model, internal operations and culture. Prior to setting up the advisory, Cuddeford worked for BAE Systems Applied Intelligence (formerly Detica), and held several management roles with banks in among others the UK and Japan. Rees, a long-time friend of Cuddeford, had a similar career path, starting off in banking, where he spent the first 20 years of his career with among others Credit Suisse, S. G. Warburg & Co*, Barclays and ABN Amro, and later also had spell with Detica prior to establishing Crossbridge.
Despite the challenging backdrop of the financial crisis, Crossbridge in its yearly years managed to book impressive growth, growing to a consulting team of 30 by the end of 2009. A year later Crossbridge opened its first office abroad, in New York, with founder Beth Boyd – who also has a background with Detica – still serving as a Partner (since early 2012 the US operations are led by Steve Shyn). Building on a successful hybrid model and growing demand for consultants from the financial services industry – a market which accounts for a quarter of the global consulting industry – Crossbridge continued its growth trajectory in the past five years, and currently employs a team of 60+advisors across the UK, US and Singapore.
Following eight years of independence, Cuddeford and Rees have unveiled that Crossbridge has been acquired by Synechron, with 5,000+ professionals the largest pure-play technology consulting and outsourcing provider for the financial services industry. With the move, the New York-based organisation significantly expands its presence in the London, a market which Faisal Husain, co-founder and CEO of Synechron, describes as “strategic” to its global strategy. “This acquisition is an important milestone for us and it has been our major strategic objective to strengthen our presence in London, since starting out in the US financial services industry in the early 2000s,” he comments.
The deal also bolsters Synechron’s management consulting portfolio, expanding its offerings to include Business and IT Transformation, Regulatory Services, Data Management, and Financial Crime. The transaction builds on two recent deals in the consulting space – early this year the organisation bought Paris-based Team Trade, adding 250 employees in 10 countries, and in 2013 it purchased Amsterdam-based Double Effect, adding roughly 80 consultants in 4 countries. Across the business the Crossbridge transaction marks Synechron’s third in 2015 – in August the FS-giant also acquired usable, a US-based digital design firm.
Reflecting on the integration into Synechron, Tony Clark and Richard Squire, Managing Partners of Crossbridge, say they are “delighted to be part of a team with the technical depth and scale” of Synechron, adding “our clients have been looking to us to rapidly grow the Crossbridge consulting services, capacity and global footprint, so joining forces with Synechron is a great strategic move.” Through the bundling of capabilities, merging Synechron's technical skills with Crossbridge's business consulting competences, they foresee the creation of a “leading, full lifecycle financial services consulting proposition.”
Jointly the partners anticipate capitalising on a buoyant consulting market in the UK. According to data from Source for Consulting, the UK consulting industry grew by 7% last year to £6 billion, with a more recent outlook from the MCA suggesting that the market’s growth rate is set to accelerate further, reaching 9% growth by 2017. Both analysts forecast the financial services sector to be one of the fastest growers, propelled by a wave of risk & compliance changes heading at the industry, and the need to embark on large-scale strategic and digital transformations.
* S. G. Warburg & Co was a London-based investment bank listed on the London Stock Exchange and was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. In 1995 the firm was acquired by Swiss Bank Corporation and ultimately became a part of UBS.