Synechron acquires capital markets consultancy Cityfront Group

26 September 2016

Financial services consultancy Synechron has picked up Cityfront Group, an international systems integrator that specialises in technology solutions for the banking industry. More than 100 consultants in London and Paris transfer to the privately held New York-based company.

The acquisition provides Synechron, according to CEO Faisal Husain, with two main benefits. The move bolsters its market share in the technology consulting segment for trading, risk and back office operations. Originally conceived as a specialist in Murex (an integrated platform for capital markets activities), Cityfront Group has grown significantly in recent years, and today is regarded as one of the world’s leading consultancies for solutions in the trading application space. Other offerings of Cityfront Group focus on, among others, the coding languages used by Summit, SimCorp and platforms such as Charles River, Think Folio, Openlink, Misys Fusion Capital Products and Calypso.

“Cityfront expands Synechron’s bench of experts with deep consulting and systems integration domain knowledge able to design and architect in coding languages used by capital markets solutions”, comments Husain. He adds that the bolt on will also deepen Synechron’s domain knowledge around integrated trading, risk management, processing and post-trade systems.

The second key benefit lies in the synergies Synechron expects to obtain between the bundling of propositions, in particular in the risk, regulatory and reporting area. Cityfront Group earns a large share of its fee income from regulatory engagements, reflects Jamie Gallagher, co-founder of the firm, pointing at the fact that regulators are putting increasing pressure on financial services organisations to enhance their risk management and reporting capabilities. However, organisations are grappling with the environment, and in a bid to stay ahead of the game, they often turn to external experts to support their transitions. “The regulatory climate has driven our business to record revenues – we’ve seen strong interest for our services in the US, Europe and the Middle East.”

Synechron acquires Cityfront Group

Husain says that, due to increasing regulations and a greater focus on managing risk with sophisticated trading platforms, Synechron has in recent months witnessed a growing demand for the combination of consulting and integration services. By adding the London-headquartered company to its ranks, the firm will in his view create a “powerhouse in the market with deep industry and operational expertise, scale, and the economies of agile offshore development.”

Johann Doassans, co-Founder of Cityfront Group, remarks on the bottom-line value: “We feel our clients will receive tremendous benefits with the added power of Synechron’s consulting and offshoring capabilities. We will be able to respond with the agility and experience at a global scale.” Gallagher highlights that the integration into Synechron will allow Cityfront Group to “take its business to the next level.”

Fifth deal in 18 months

The acquisition of Cityfront Group is Synechron’s fifth deal in the past 18 months. Earlier this year it picked up Hatstand – another financial services consultancy and capital markets specialist with five offices globally – while in 2015 it added Crossbridge (UK), usable (US) and Team Trade (France) to its network. The deal sees Synechron take another step towards its ambitions strategy drafted for 2020 – breaking through the barrier of $1 billion in revenues, up from $400 million today. 

Previous purchases include that of IT firms 110 Technologies, SysCore Solutions, Esquire Systems and management consultancy Double Effect.

Cityfront Group will continue to operate independently, but has, as part of the transaction, added ‘a Synechron Company’ to its branding and logo. The firm’s London and Paris offices will – in line with Synechrons’s ‘Power of 3' vision launched early this year – work closely with other service lines within the parent company.


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SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

19 April 2019

UK consulting firm SQW Group has completed its first acquisition since it completed a management buyout in January 2019. BBP Regeneration joins the company having collaborated with SQW for more than 20 years.

Established in 1983, SQW Group now operates all over the world. Comprising SQW, Oxford Innovation, Oxford Innovation Services – one of the UK’s leading innovation centre operators – and Oxford Investment Opportunities Network, the organisation’s origins can be traced to Britain’s two ancient university cities: Oxford, through Oxford Trust founders, Martin and Audrey Wood, and Cambridge, through SQW’s work in producing The Cambridge Phenomenon.

The consultancy specialises in public policy, working with entities from the public, private and voluntary sectors to research, develop, implement and evaluate social and economic development interventions. It now employs over 250 people across regional offices in London, Oxford and Edinburgh, and provides business support to over 4,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses each year. At the start of 2019, SQW secured its independence in a management buyout, advised on by M&A experts from Liberty Corporate Finance and Penningtons Manches.

SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

SQW has strengthened its position as a provider of services across the business spectrum with the acquisition of BBP Regeneration. Founded in 1994, the consulting firm specialises in land and property-based regeneration and growth schemes, and is a leading social and economic development consultancy. 

The two firms first worked together over 20 years ago, when SQW and BBP collaborated to develop the first Regional Economic Strategy for the South East. More recently, they developed an economic strategy for Thanet and are now working together in locations stretching from Cwmbran via Oxfordshire to London.

With the addition of BBP, SQW can now provide an integrated advisory service for organisations developing property schemes which deliver economic benefit to their local area. By joining SQW, meanwhile, BBP hopes to further enhance its ability to support clients in delivering property and place-making ambitions. 

Speaking about the deal, SQW CEO David Crichton-Miller commented, “The UK more than ever needs solutions to the challenges of places – of high streets under threat, of meeting housing delivery targets, and of both economically over-successful and economically challenged towns and cities – and the combination of SQW and BBP is uniquely suited to developing those solutions. [This deal] brings together critical and complementary services relating to places to serve our clients with leading edge and practical advice.”

Andy Smith, Director of BBP Regeneration, added, “SQW shares with BBP the same values of seeking to provide outstanding, practical, real world advice that helps get buildings built and places developed.  We greatly look forward to the opportunities that come from joining our two organisations together.”