Broadstone buys employee benefits consultancy CS Financial Services

06 February 2019

Broadstone Group has announced the acquisition of Liverpool-based CS Financial Solutions. The deal sees Broadstone take a step toward strengthening and extending its competitive offering in the employee benefits consulting sector.

Founded in 1989, Broadstone Group is an employee benefits and pensions consultancy based in the UK. Originally created by a Tax Partner within BDO Stoy Hayward, the firm obtained independence in 2016 when owners Oakley Capital and BDO agreed to sell Broadstone to Livingbridge. The private equity firm has invested in a number of consulting firms in recent years, taking a minority stake in Efficio in 2015 and backing Catalyst Development in 2017.

Since Livingbridge’s investment in Broadstone, the firm has been embarking on a campaign for sustained expansion. On the back of appointing Grant Stobart as CEO and Nick Jones as CFO, Broadstone acquired Mitchell Consulting and 2020 Trustees in 2017. Now, having incorporated the purchases into its organisation, Broadstone has completed a third purchase with the acquisition of CS Financial Solutions (CSFS).

Broadstone buys employee benefits consultancy CS Financial Services

CSFS is a specialist employee benefits consultancy, based in Liverpool. The firm works to give clients a solutions-orientated service, characterised by a high level of specialist advice. The firm has a track record of assisting many clients from the initial design of a benefits package through to communication, establishment and on-going support.

The consultancy will now become a fully integrated part of the Broadstone Group, helping to serve the combined entity’s burgeoning client base across the UK and internationally, through the Assurex Global network. The acquisition brings the number of Broadstone regional UK offices to six with other locations in London, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham and Falkirk, with a view to supporting both Broadstone’s larger clients and SMEs, which are often poorly serviced by the larger consultancies.

Grant Stobart, Broadstone Group CEO, said of the deal, “This is an exciting acquisition for us and brings additional capabilities and additional experienced staff and scale that will help ensure that we remain truly competitive in the provision of innovative employee benefits solutions in a competitive market that is seeing significant consolidation. We now have over 200 professionals serving more than a thousand clients across the UK.”

Paul McGuckin, CEO at CSFS, remarked that the acquisition offers a number of opportunities, stating, “Being an integral part of a larger, innovative organisation with ambitious growth plans and the resources to deliver will mean that we can continue to offer our clients the very best product solutions and service. For our staff it means that they can benefit from the significant career and development opportunities that come with working for a market leading organisation.”

Livingbridge’s Xavier Woodward meanwhile commented, “This is an exciting next step for Broadstone following its acquisition of Mitchell Consulting and 2020 Trustees and we look forward to seeing the business further deliver on its M&A ambitions in the year ahead.”

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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.”