Sofgen CEO Andre Israel joins Accenture's banking consulting arm

06 November 2017 Consultancy.uk

Professional services firm Accenture has confirmed the appointment of Sofgen CEO Andre Israel. Israel joins Accenture’s Geneva-based banking advisory arm as a Managing Director, as financial institutions look to leverage digital solutions to fend off new market competitors.

Global professional services company Accenture has been pushing its way into the financial services sector in recent years. In October 2016, the acquisition of Allen International, a London-based design consultancy that works for dozens of banking clients globally, brought long-standing relationships with Emirates NBD, Bank of Ireland, CIBC, Banorte, Mauritius Commercial Bank, Creditbank, State Bank of India, Santander, Islandsbanki, Qatar First Bank and Virgin Money to the firm.

Now, the European and global banking markets are facing increasing uncertainty, with digitisation and unstable political factors meaning that many of Accenture’s potential clients are considering how to transform their operations in order to preserve profits. While digital technologies like blockchain are being found by established banks to be as much of an opportunity as a threat – despite often being leveraged by new, more agile competitors – the unknown quantity of Brexit means that financial services across Europe are unsure of where their operations may need to be based come 2019. In October, for example, the Bank of England has predicted that Britain stands to lose as many as 75,000 financial services jobs following the culmination of Brexit.

Geneva, Switzerland

In order to strengthen its operations on the continent, and prepare to meet growing demand from anxious clients, Accenture have hired Andre Israel as Managing Director and head of the company’s core banking consulting services for its financial services practice, effective immediately. In his new role, Israel is to lead Accenture’s consulting services globally for financial institutions looking to increase their efficiencies and introduce new digital technologies by upgrading or replacing their central lending, deposit and payments IT infrastructure. Israel will also be responsible for developing and growing the practice, which sells, designs and delivers core banking technology and business transformation programmes and solutions for clients.

Israel has arrived at Accenture following nearly three decades working in and around the areas of systems implementation, program management, general management and M&A. Most recently, he served as group Chief Executive Officer of Sofgen, a TechMahindra Company based in South Africa. He began his career at Coopers & Lybrand in 1986 after graduating from University of Cape Town in South Africa. Now, Israel has relocated to Geneva, Switzerland, for his new role as Managing Director, and will report to Sushil Saluja, Senior Managing Director and Head of Accenture’s financial services practice in Europe. Accenture serves 42 of the world’s top 50 banks from the location.

“Large banks face a bold new frontier of emerging technologies but rely on systems that are often no longer fit for purpose,” said Sushil Saluja. “Most recognise the urgency in implementing concepts like ‘open banking’ and fintech innovations, where investments need to be balanced against margin pressures being driven both by competition and regulations such as PSD2 and GDPR… To meet these challenges and build a bridge between legacy IT and a digital future they will require skills and scalable resources. Andre’s expertise in this area makes an excellent addition to our capabilities in helping our clients pivot to the new, and we welcome him.”

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Rapid growth sees Quantum Advisory promote trio of partners

18 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Three senior level consultants have been boosted to the rank of Partner at Quantum Advisory, as the firm works to meet heightened levels of client demand. Aled Edwards, Amanda Burdge and Chris Heirene become Partners as long-time Quantum member Rob Davies retires in May after 15 years as a Partner at the firm.

Founded in 2000, Quantum Advisory provides pension and employee benefits services to employers, scheme trustees and members, with five offices across the UK. The firm has enjoyed exponential growth in recent years, following a number of major client wins and booming demand for its services. It opened a new office in Bristol in 2016 to service the South West and in 2017 relocated its Cardiff office to a larger site within the Welsh capital to house the increased workforce. More recently, Quantum relocated its Amersham, Birmingham and London offices to more spacious premises in the centre of both cities to cope with demand.

The financial services consultancy, which employs 115 people across the UK, has promoted three senior team members to Partner, as part of its wider growth plans. The firm has moved Aled Edwards from Principal Consultant & Actuary, while Amanda Burdge has ascended from Principal Investment Consultant. Chris Heirene, former IT Manager, has also joined the ten current Partners at Quantum.

Aled Edwards most recently managed the actuarial team within Quantum’s Cardiff office as well as providing technical training for all staff. He boasts more than 17 years of pensions experience. He started his career as an Actuary at Jardine Lloyd Thompson’s Bristol wing, before joining Quantum in 2011. Edwards is also the President of the Welsh Actuarial Society (WAS), which supports actuaries and actuarial students living or working in Wales.

Rapid growth sees Quantum Advisory promote trio of Partners

Amanda Burdge joined Quantum’s team in 2001, as one of the fledgling firm’s first employees. Most recently she was a Principal Investment Consultant with the firm, and with more than a quarter of a century’s experience in the sector, she is responsible for providing investment advice to many of Quantum’s key clients with both defined benefit and defined contribution schemes. Prior to her time with Quantum, Burdge spent two years as a consultant with SBJ Benefit Consultants (now Capita), and three years with Tesco Pension Trustees. She currently sits on the Regulation Committee for the Pensions Management Institute.

Chris Heirene initially worked with Quantum as an IT Consultant with Teamwork Technology Services and then UES for over five years, before finally joining the firm itself in 2011. He is now responsible for Quantum’s IT systems across all of its offices, including the network and core server infrastructure which supports the business. Heirene is heavily involved in utilising IT to improve and build upon the processes in place throughout Quantum.

David Deidun, Partner at Quantum Advisory, said of the promotions, “This is a very exciting time for Quantum. The recent round of promotions fully recognise the hard work and dedication shown by the three, all of whom go above and beyond for the company. I’ve no doubt that Aled, Amanda and Chris will settle into their new roles with ease and look forward to working together to grow Quantum even further.”

The news comes as Rob Davies retires in May, after spending fifteen years as a Partner at Quantum. A qualified actuary, Davies was instrumental in setting up Quantum’s Investment Division, specialising in aiding clients with their investment strategies. He will remain with the company on a part-time consultancy basis, while working with several clients in the Fiduciary Manager area.