Financial services consultancy Catalyst secures Livingbridge investment

17 October 2017 4 min. read
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Financial services consultancy Catalyst Development has secured a growth investment, in a management buy-out backed by private equity investor Livingbridge. The deal was advised by Livingstone’s Business Services sector team.

Private equity firm Livingbridge has made a “significant” investment in financial markets consultancy Catalyst Development. Founded in 1994, the firm has served more than 70 clients in over 30 global financial centres, including names as big as JP Morgan and HSBC over its time in business. Over their 23 years in the industry, Catalyst have advised on regulatory change, organisational improvement and talent development in investment banks, clearing houses and asset managers.

Financial service advisory is a hugely lucrative business at present. Global banks spent about $30 billion on consultancy fees in 2016, up from $17 billion in 2008. Client demand for Catalyst’s specialist services is significant, driven by far-reaching G20 commitments to making markets safer in the wake of the financial crisis. Catalyst’s clients are now increasingly requiring ‘specialism at scale’ to tackle large, complex programmes of transformational change. With a number of UK and EU-driven changes, to regulation on the horizon, such as Mifid II and GDPR, investors also clearly subscribe to the belief that Catalyst looks well-placed for rapid growth.

Specialist financial services consultancy Catalyst Development secures Livingbridge investment

Catalyst CEO, Andrew Middleton commented, “Since the financial crisis, there has been a growing need for expert, trusted advisors to help financial institutions navigate change. Our ambition is to become Europe’s leading financial markets specialists. In Livingbridge, Livingstone have identified an ideal partner for us who will enable us to build on the momentum we have already generated and accelerate our growth to establish Catalyst as the unrivalled choice for specialist financial markets consultancy.”

Livingbridge are a mid-market private equity firm of over 80 people in the UK and Australia. Globally, the private equity industry now has over $2500 billion in assets under management, and Livingbridge’s website boasts that they hold as much as £1 billion, which is ready to invest over the next 5 years. The investment from Livingbridge, who invest between £2 million and £70 million in fast growing companies, will enable Catalyst to address its market’s escalating requirements along with growing its client base, by accelerating its service development, expanding its talent development and acquisition strategy (with the aim of trebling headcount) and strengthening its infrastructure. Catalyst also aim to increase its international presence, and Livingbridge has committed to provide additional capital to pursue strategic acquisitions.

The investment was advised by Livingstone. The firm is an international mid-market M&A and Debt Advisory firm, with offices in Beijing, Chicago, Düsseldorf, London, Los Angeles, Madrid and Stockholm. Its 110 professional staff completed over 60 deals in 2016, alone. Their credentials in the specialist consultancy space include sale of Technicon Design to French engineering group Segula Technologies, Tata Technologies’ strategic acquisition of Escenda and the sale of Javelin Group to Accenture.

Alex John, Partner at Livingstone London, said, “The Catalyst team are one of the most impressive management teams we have worked with, and have developed an excellent reputation for deep subject matter expertise and service delivery. There is a clear market opportunity, and with the backing of Livingbridge, we are confident they will build a highly attractive specialist consultancy of genuine scale.” 

Greg Davis, Founder and retiring Chairman of Catalyst, concluded, “Livingstone quickly grasped the nature of our business, what makes it desirable and what future ownership we needed to fulfil our ambition. They ran a disciplined and highly professional process and attracted several good trade buyers and private equity investors. Even more importantly we trusted Livingstone to help us decide on the best partner for Catalyst going forward. Their outstanding advice and professionalism have been invaluable to the success of this process.”