Economic advisory OCO Global names Kelly Clark as Consulting Director

10 April 2018

Northern Ireland headquartered consultancy OCO has confirmed the appointment of governmental project expert Dr Kelly Clark. As the firm seeks to strengthen its support for governments and businesses globally, former KPMG Associate Director Clark will work as OCO’s new Consulting Director.

Founded in 2001, OCO has spent the last 17 years in business, providing economic development solutions to leading organisations including JETRO, JobsOhio, Enterprise Florida, Invest Hong Kong, Invest in France, UNCTAD, IEDC and WAIPA. The trade and investment consultancy employs a multilingual team of over 60 consultants in offices in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Bogota, New York and Tokyo, alongside the firm’s headquarters in Belfast.

Most recently the firm was engaged by the UK Department of International Trade and Investment (DIT), with OCO working as an exclusive partner to support UK companies exploring expansion opportunities in North America. Similar to the role that Big Four firm PwC occupied with the DIT’s campaign relating to the Asia Pacific region, this sees OCO provide a wide range of trade support services to both new and experienced exporters, in order to help boost the UK’s overall export target.Dr Kelly Clark, Consulting Director - OCOAlongside such high-profile engagements, OCO has also leveraged targeted acquisitions to enhance its growth via inorganic means. In March of 2017, the Belfast-based firm responded to the triggering of Article 50 by purchasing the British Business Centre in Dubai, from British Business Group, United Arab Emirates. OCO announced the move as a means to helping companies conquer markets in the Middle East, as the business world reacts to news of the timing of Article 50.

Now, the economic advisory consultancy has announced the expansion of its pool of specialist consultants in order to help meet a growing workload. Former Northern Ireland Civil Servant, Dr Kelly Clark, has been appointed by the firm to head-up its government and business advisory team. Clark joins from the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS), having formerly led governmental projects such as UK Open Government Action plan, and the OECD Review of Public Governance in Northern Ireland. She also managed the £4.5 million Executive-funded programme, the Cross Cutting Reform Programme, consisting of 30 eclectic reform projects operating on a cross-departmental basis.

Prior to this, she spent seven years as an Associate Director with the Irish wing of Big Four professional services firm KPMG, leading a range of complex projects assisting public and private sector organisations to formulate and implement solutions relating to their strategy, structure and operations. She worked extensively in the home affairs and financial services sectors with clients based across the UK, Ireland and the US.

Clark, who obtained her Doctorate in Politics at Queen’s University Belfast, joins as the company looks to strengthen its support to governments and businesses, in both the UK and internationally, seeking to attract investment and to identify and benefit from expansion opportunities worldwide. As OCO’s new Consulting Director, Clark will lead the firm’s global consulting business, working across the OCO Global network of offices.

Commenting on the appointment, OCO Global CEO, Mark O’Connell said, “We are delighted to welcome Kelly to our team, bringing with her extensive consulting experience across both the public and private sectors. She joins at a hugely exciting time for OCO as we expand our services both in the UK and internationally, grow our client list and continue to support businesses in exporting across the Atlantic and around the world. As someone who is ambitious and passionate about the industry, Kelly will be integral to our long-term business strategy and I’m confident she will make an immediate impact.”

Clark herself added, “I am thrilled and excited to be joining a very talented team at OCO, which is well-known for its client service and deep knowledge of the global markets it operates in. I wish to build on the strong existing relationships within OCO’s network and aim to utilise my experience to expand our client base further.”


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Rapid growth sees Quantum Advisory promote trio of partners

18 April 2019

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.