TargetST8 joins financial services consultancy network CH Alliance

17 October 2017 9 min. read
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Chappuis Halder, an international consulting firm headquartered in France, has expanded its global alliance network with the addition of TargetST8, a financial services consultancy with operations in the US and the UK. The move is described as a win-win for both parties by Stéphane Eyraud, CEO for Chappuis Halder, and Steve Shyn, CEO of TargetST8, as the firms look to enhance their market development and innovation services for their global client base.

Originally established in Switzerland, Chappuis Halder is a consulting firm that provides a range of business, innovation and operations advisory services to players in the financial services landscape. The firm has since expanded from its Swiss base, reaching 50% growth every year over the past 3 years to become a global player, today employing nearly 200 consultants across offices in Europe, North America and Asia*.

A few years ago, the privately held partnership founded CH Alliance – a network that aims at bringing together like-minded consulting firms into a network to foster growth and project delivery – as part of its internationalisation strategy. CH Alliance has set its sights on becoming “the network of reference” for expertise and specialist know-how to the financial services industry, offering an integral set of consultancy services and solutions.

Until now, the network had five members: founders Chappuis Halder; ML Advisory (a financial services boutique with offices in London, Paris, Madrid and Frankfurt), Oxbow Partners (a London-based advisory firm for the insurance industry), Zelig Associates (a consultancy with hubs in London and New York), and 8works (a design and advisory firm also based in London and New York).

The Alliance network

The latest member to join the CH Alliance is TargetST8, a US headquartered consultancy specialised in financial services, which takes the network to six firms. TargetST8 currently has a team of around 60 consultants, of which a small number are located in London. The move builds on a long legacy of cooperation between the two firms, while the CEOs of both firms have also had a longstanding business relationship for many years, having personally been part of joint consulting teams at clients. Both Stéphane Eyraud, CEO for Chappuis Halder, and Steve Shyn, CEO of TargetST8, also have a history at PwC, after which Shyn had spells at M.A. Partners and HSBC, before joining TargetST8, while Eyraud spent two years in executive roles before joining Chappuis Halder in 2010.

Founded in 1998, TargetST8 adopted its current name in September 2015, rebranding from Crossbridge, after the firm decided not to join its UK counterparts in selling operations to Synechron. As Crossbridge UK formally owned the ‘Crossbridge’ brand, the US operation, which served as licensing partners until then, was forced to adopt a new name. They opted for TargetST8, referencing the fact that the firm’s consultants are dedicated to bringing clients smoothly to their target state. The move resembled that of the sale of Booz & Company to PwC. Since Booz Allen Hamilton held the right for the ‘Booz’ brand, and there was a contractual agreement that sale would trigger a rebrand, PwC was obliged to change the firm’s name, eventually opting for Strategy&.

In the US, CH Alliance will have a team of around 90 consultants, two thirds of whom are active at TargetST8. In Europe the situation is mirrored, Chappuis Halder and CH Alliance will take the lead in consulting work. TargetST8 had already embarked on a European expansion, posting senior consultants Ian Holden and Paul Dodman in London to spearhead the firm’s continental European aspirations. Their focus so far is specifically on lending related activities, and with the support of CH Alliance’s network, they expect to enlarge their customer base in the field in the UK and in continental Europe.

Internationalisation path

Looking ahead, Chappuis Halder’s CEO Eyraud says that the firm will continue its internationalisation path, in its bid to become a “true global services and advisory firm.” The firm, unlike other partner owned consultancies such as McKinsey & Company, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Roland Berger, clearly believes in a collaborative network approach, with Pierre Bustamante, Partner in charge of Business Development, stating, “We prefer a consortium way of working rather than letting us think that we can do it all alone, and this approach in our view better meets the needs of today's customers who are eyeing a more open, innovative and agile way of working.”

Stephane Eyraud | Pierre Bustamante | Steve Shyn

The group’s strategy does show close similarities to that of a number of other French-origin consultancies. Advancy, a management consultancy headquartered in Paris, itself has around 200 professionals in eight offices, while it works closely together with a network of eleven partners around the world. Kea & Partners, launched in 2001 by former senior partners of Capgemini Consulting, has a team of around 140 consultants in France, and through its own alliance (‘The Transformation Alliance’), can tap into a network of 350 consultants in 9 countries. Among the main alliance partners it works with are h&z Business Consulting in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and MBS Consulting in Italy.

“TargetST8 joining the CH Alliance is a major development in the financial services consulting landscape,” said Eyraud, highlighting that the US firm brings both new and complementary capabilities to the network in terms of content, services and quality. The addition largely extends CH’s reach into North America, and particularly the US, which, with a value of $58 billion, is the globe’s largest consulting market. According to Shyn, TargetST8 has consulting projects with all the major US banks – that would mean the firm would work for the likes of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Corporation, Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Chappuis Halder, meanwhile, currently has projects with 11 of the 12 largest European banks and insurance companies, highlighting how the two firms will be able to benefit from a synergistic footprint of client coverage, bolstering in-depth expertise of clients as well as service offerings.

Main goals

However, the key driver for both parties will be the ability to jointly ramp up the scale of their operations, and offer an improved – and, in their eyes, more specialised – alternative to the Big Four, who hold a 40% share in the global consulting market according to Gartner. The CH Alliance now includes more than 300 professionals working exclusively for organisations in financial services, including banks, insurance companies, regulators, wealth managers and FinTech firms.

“The chief benefit of joining the alliance lies in the added capacity, expertise and reach it provides us. By leveraging each other’s strengths, network and mutual focus, we will be able to offer a full portfolio of consultative services to firms around the worl, which is ultimately the goal,” said TargetST8 CEO, Shyn.

TargetST8 joining the CH Alliance is a major development in the financial services consulting landscape

From the Chapphuis Halder perspective, Eyraud added, “With TargetST8 on board, we can manage broader, bigger projects or specialty product implementation for international clients, fully integrated with innovative work methodologies such as Lean Start Up or Creative Design.”

On top of partnering on engagement delivery, the two consultancies will also jointly offer the development of industrial insights and studies, as well as developing case studies of successful projects in innovative areas such as digital transformation, Robotics Process Automation (RPA), FinTech and Data Strategy – areas in which both Chappuis Halder and TargetST8 are quite active. Digital transformation consulting has become a $23 billion industry globally.

The financial services industry has seen some particularly dramatic technology-led changes over the past few years, and this trend is set to accelerate. While FinTech start-ups are encroaching upon established markets, many executives look to their IT departments to improve efficiency, reduce costs and facilitate innovation. At the same time, IT departments are also trying to balance the costs associated with supporting many legacy systems, some of which are more than 30 years old. This environment presents a major opportunity to consulting firms, including the newly strengthened network.

* Chappuis Halder’s first international expansion drive saw the firm enter France (Paris; established in 2009; today 50 consultants) and Hong Kong (Hong Kong; in 2009; 20 consultants). After that, the management consultancy subsequently pushed into the US (New York; in 2011; 30 employees), Singapore (Singapore; in 2011; 20 consultants), and Canada (Montreal; in 2014; 25 consultants). Chappuis Halder’s UK operation, which is located in the heart of Paddington, was established in 2010 and currently employs a team of around 15 consultants.