Accenture UK buys Investit, consultancy firm for investment industry

14 September 2017

Accenture have acquired Investit, a London based research and benchmarking consultancy to the investment management industry. The firm’s team of ten have joined Accenture’s asset management industry practice, forming a new business analytics service in the process, which will be led by Investit’s former chief executive Catherine Doherty.

Founded in 1998, Investit has been working with the largest investment management firms to address industry-wide issues. The company provides benchmarking and research services, empowering client asset managers to make better strategic decisions.

On Monday, Investit’s chief executive Catherine Doherty, who was one of the founding members of Investit in 1998 before taking the helm in 2012, unveiled that she and her team have joined Accenture’s UK organisation. Reflecting on the decision to give away its independent status to join a giant in the field, she remarked, “Our team has since founding completed over 1,800 assignments for over 120 clients, including many of the world’s largest investment firms. As part of Accenture we can scale up to provide world leading insights for asset managers across Europe, North America and Asia.”

Investit have been rebranded as Accenture’s ‘Investment Management Business Insights’, a newly launched service line based in London, which brings together “Investit's historical strengths of being able to model, compare and advise investment management firms, with Accenture's breadth of business transformation skills”, according to Doherty. The unit will focus on helping investment management institutions benchmark, analyse and improve the performance of their business processes and technology.

Accenture UK buys Investit

Recent research shows that the investment and asset management industry is likely to undergo a period of major change. While global Assets under Management (AuM) have grown strongly off late, the industry has not been able to translate that into better revenue margins. In 2012, global AuM stood at $47 trillion. Lifted by an average growth rate of 7% per annum, the number reached $62 trillion last year. As Asset Managing firms look to make better use of their resources, benchmarking is due to become key to a great deal of the process.

The top 35 investment management firms in the UK alone spend about $5 billion annually on technology and operations. Benchmarking helps them understand how their sales, back office or key financials perform against industry peers, and measure up against best practices outside the investment management industry. Investit launched its benchmarking service in 2009, and today serves as an important piece of input for the clients that make use of it.

New Wave

“In the new wave of digital innovation many investment management firms will need to rethink their strategies,” said Owen Jelf, senior managing director and head of Accenture’s global capital markets practice. “Under heavy regulatory and market pressures, the health and performance of business processes and technology will be a growing factor in the competitive landscape. By bringing leading benchmarking experts and capabilities to Accenture’s capital markets practice, we can help our clients compete in a fast evolving sector.”

On top of Investit’s own capabilities, Accenture’s substantial economic fire-power will enable the new arm to vastly broaden and deepen its service portfolio. New topics that will now be able to garner more of Investit’s focus include intelligent automation, cloud, big data, cyber security and analytics for portfolio management, distribution and operations.

The acquisition of UK-based Investit marks Accenture’s most recent initiative to expand its asset management consulting and technology capabilities. Earlier this year, the company completed its acquisition of InvestTech Systems Consulting, a North American technology consultancy, and, in 2015, Accenture acquired Beacon Consulting Group (while Big Four firm KPMG obtained the firm’s healthcare consulting arm) a management consulting firm whose clients include five of the top ten North American investment management firms.

Investit’s shareholders were advised on by Equiteq, an M&A advisory specialised in consulting and IT services deals.


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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.”