Mazars acquires RCL Consultancy, launches partnership with prior owner Embark

13 December 2017

International consulting firm Mazars has acquired the chartered financial planning business RCL Consultancy for an undisclosed fee. The purchase wrests control of the firm from The Embark Group, though the two groups also announced a new joint venture in the employee benefits market.

As independent financial advisers, RCL offer a wide range of advisory and consultancy services to individuals, private business, charities and other professionals. These services include pension and retirement planning, personal financial planning and investment advisory offerings.

Mazars Financial Planning (MFP) is said to have added £300 million to its assets under advice, through the deal for Salisbury-based RCL Consultancy, which reportedly has a £3 million portfolio of high net worth individuals, alone. The entity responsible for the acquisition, MFP, previously boasted £770 million in assets under management, meaning that following approval from the Financial Conduct Authority, Mazars will have over £1 billion under advice.

Mazars acquires RCL Consultancy, launches partnership with prior owner Embark

Mazars did not release financial details pertaining to the acquisition from retirement solutions provider Embark. However, following the deal, the two groups have also agreed to enter into a joint venture. The new partnership between Mazars and Embark will involve combining all of their activities in the UK employees benefits consulting sector, which will also see Mazars Employee Benefits renamed as Vested Employee Benefits. Vested will be part of The Embark Group and owned 51% by Embark and 49% by Mazars.

The new company will be aimed at small to medium sized businesses with between 100 and 750 employees, which Mazars feel are “poorly serviced” at present. Mazars said Vested would go 'beyond traditional flexible benefits and auto-enrolment' to consider workplace saving schemes, flexible benefits, financial wellness, and other such initiatives.

Speaking on the two developments, Mazars UK senior partner Phil Verity said, “The combination of these transactions continues our rapid growth in the UK financial planning market, a core sector for Mazars in the UK, and through Vested we will retain our engagement in the employee benefits consulting market, in a collaboration that greatly increases our chance of material success.”

In early 2017, Mazars reported their UK revenues had grown by 7% to reach £160 million. The firm has since undergone a continuing period of change to maintain that rate of expansion. The consultancy added a team of 195 new trainees in the early Autumn, while announcing a new executive and non-executive team over the course of the year.


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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.”