Pensions and benefits consultancy Broadstone completes duo of deals

09 November 2017

The pensions and benefits consultancy Broadstone Group has completed the acquisition of both pension and actuarial firm Mitchell Consulting and 2020 Trustees. The deals, which conclude for undisclosed fees, will see Broadstone’s headcount boosted to around 170 staff, while its UK presence will go up to five locations.

The pensions environment is continuously shifting across Europe, with ageing populations and altering financial landscapes seeing industry players seeking to de-risk in the segment. Meanwhile, not a single one of the world’s 20 largest pension funds resides in Britain, suggesting that firms will likely need to revise their strategies in the future to avoid major short-comings, as the country’s own ageing population begins to come to a head. Consulting firms focused on the industry will therefore be keen to bolster their ranks in order to meet increasing client demand, as companies look to meet these challenges.

As part of their own expansion plans, UK employee benefits and pensions consultancy Broadstone Group has purchased Manchester-based Mitchell Consulting, an actuarial firm, and its sister company 2020 Trustees, an independent trustee group. The acquisitions increase Broadstone’s employee headcount to 170 staff and expand its regional UK network across five locations (Falkirk, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield). The firm hopes to cement a reputation for the delivery of market leading defined benefit, defined contribution, risk and healthcare consulting solutions to clients, with the backing of investment from private equity firm Livingbridge, who recently also funded the growth campaign of financial services consultancy Catalyst Development.

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As part of the deal, 2020 Trustees will “remain independently managed” following the acquisition, according to a release from Broadstone. The firm is one of five providers on the Pension Protection Fund’s panel of independent trustees, which help steer schemes through the lifeboat fund’s assessment process. Nigel Jones, CEO of Mitchell Consulting, will meanwhile lead the new combined actuarial consulting arm.

Commenting on the acquisitions, Grant Stobart, CEO of Broadstone, said, “Our strategy is to grow both organically - with a particular focus on small and medium sized organisations that are often poorly serviced by the larger consultancies - and by acquisition. Looking ahead, backed by Livingbridge, we will continue to pursue further acquisitions with firms that share our cultural values and complement our expertise and service.”

Nigel Jones said of his firm’s new ownership, “The acquisition is good news for clients, who will benefit from an expanded network, access to a larger pool of consultants providing expert guidance and solutions, and access to new tools, platforms and support services that will help meet their needs.”

Antony Miller, CEO of 2020 Trustees, added, “We have been considering ways to build on 2020 Trustees' rapid growth for some time. The market has a growing need for a more progressive approach and our style of balanced, pragmatic, commercial Trusteeship offers that. The Broadstone Group will help us reach a wider market and provide the support that we need to expand.”


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.”