Risk consultancy 4most transitions to employee-owned firm

04 September 2018 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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London-based specialist risk consultancy has transitioned from a privately-held firm to a majority employee-owned firm. With the move, firms wants to reinforces the company’s unique working culture that has led to its growth success.

Founded in 2011, 4most is a specialist risk consultancy which works to deliver complex projects for UK and international clients. The firm has grown rapidly over the past seven years, ranking 22nd in the most recent Sunday Times Fast Track league table for the fastest growing UK companies and 7th in this year’s Profit Track 100.

This trajectory has seen the firm become the UK’s largest credit risk consultancy in the process, specialising in credit risk to support financial institutions meet the growing complexity and demands of regulatory standards for risk modelling and data analytics services. Now, as the firm looks to kick on from its current momentum, the risk analytics consultancy has announced it has new majority ownership: its staff.

Co-founders Sisson and Somers, together with early investors Beechbrook Capital have sold 55% of the issued share capital to an EOT (Employee Ownership Trust). The trust will ultimately own the company for the benefit of staff, while Sisson and Somers will remain on the board and continue to manage and run the 4most Group.

Risk consultancy 4most transitions to employee-owned firm

The announcement is the latest in a series of initiatives undertaken by the company to set itself apart from the competition of a crowded UK consulting market. As well as operating with a relatively flat structure and offering agile working, this has seen 4most encourage its more than 150 staff to broaden their skills beyond their day-to-day roles through continuous personal development. Other incentives include a busy calendar of social events, including the highlight of a company-wide weekend team-building trip to Portugal each year, as well as a generous benefits package and annual bonuses linked to overall company performance.

Commenting on the news, Mark Sisson, CEO at 4most said, “We wanted to provide a legacy over the longer term that would provide a secure future for our employees and the EOT achieves this. Our key objective in setting up the company was to create a great place for people to work, and the significant growth we’ve undergone demonstrates that this mindset makes a significant contribution to overall success.”

He added that as the financial services sector faces a battle to attract top talent, particularly amongst graduates who are looking for more in a career than just a 9-to-5. Sisson concluded, “Companies don’t need to be within the creative industry to embrace a similar mindset when it comes to creating a supportive working environment, and it is by adopting a more forward-thinking approach that our company will thrive in the war for talent in the years ahead.”

The new structure certainly sets 4most apart in the consulting sector. Pioneered by the John Lewis Partnership, there are now over 300 British companies that have signed up to an EOT structure, and EOTs are well recognised for boosting morale, improving incentives to work hard and encouraging all employees to make decisions that are in the company’s best interests. Despite this, it is relatively rare for a consulting firm to be employee owned.

Instead, the consulting sector traditionally prepares privately held structures, with Partners owning the company, while some of the giants of the industry are stocklisted, such as Accenture, or Capgemini. While it remains rare, however, it is not unheard of, and there are a small yet growing number of firms which are at least partly employee owned. Perhaps the best known of these is PA Consulting, which is still 49% owned by its employees, while last year, marketing consultancy MindWorks transitioned to become an employee owned firm.