PwC establishes Research arm with acquisition of Optimisa Research

10 August 2017 2 min. read

PwC have acquired UK company Optimisa Research to create a new Belfast-based global research arm, which will enable the Big Four firm to grow their advisory presence within the financial services sector.

Big Four consultancy PwC has purchased Optimisa Research, a full service agency with offices in Belfast, London and Leeds. Optimisa has distinct strengths in the financial services sector, which PwC will hope to leverage for increased access to a key industry sector where the firm remains keen to expand. The agency, which commands over 30 years of experience in conducting qualitative and quantitative projects, has an annual turnover of around £4 million and employs 45 staff, who will all join PwC.

Together the new merged teams totalling 100 research professionals will become PwC Research, a new label which will provide clients with consumer-led connected insight to local, national and international businesses, and will operate from the Optimisa’s former Waterfront Plaza headquarters in Belfast. The merger will also enable PwC’s research brand to boast a national and regional reach immediately, thanks to the previously mentioned London and Leeds offices also acquired in the deal.

PwC and Optimisa

PwC's consulting business already hosts prominent AI, analytics, cyber-security and fintech arms, among others, as the professional services giant seeks to diversify its business to counterbalance an ailing audit portfolio. The firm’s traditional primary source of revenue has come under pressure from increased accountancy regulations recently, while losing prominent contracts to rival Big Four firms.

According to PwC Northern Ireland partner Honor Mallon, "Incorporating the extensive skills of the Optimisa team with our existing business is key to differentiating our service and accelerating growth. We are already providing research and insight to PwC clients globally and this acquisition will expand our capacity to deliver integrated quantitative and qualitative insights to both business and consumer-facing clients.”

Marco Amitrano, UK Head of Consulting at PwC, meanwhile described it as a "significant addition" for the company which would "support ambitious growth plans over the next few years".

"It will also support our strategic priority to bring more connected insight to our clients as they tackle increasingly complex business transformation challenges and seek opportunities for growth that arise from disruption in their industries," he added.

Following the acquisition of Optimisa, the combined PwC Research business will offer clients specialist knowledge in sectors including retail, utilities, banking and financial services. These will include business-to-business, business-to-consumer and business-to-employee research, supported by strong data analytics, and PwC’s global consulting expertise.