AAB secures major investment for Scottish stock exchange drive

04 April 2019 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read
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Scottish origin professional services firm AAB has secured a key investment for a client looking to launch a new stock exchange for the region. Project Heather hopes that it can create the first Scottish stock exchange in 50 years, marking half a century of major economic and political change in the country.

In 2018, Aberdeen-headquartered accountancy Anderson Anderson & Brown (AAB) launched a new dedicated consulting firm, as it bid to boost revenue growth. Following in the footsteps of the world’s largest professional services firms such as the Big Four – all of whom branched into the lucrative consulting sector from accounting – executives at AAB Consulting hope the firm will hit revenues of £5 million in its first three years.

The company’s existing consulting arm transferred into the dedicated business in order to provide a platform for “rapid growth” following a hike in demand for its services. At its launch, the AAB Consulting division was headed up by Chief Executive Bill Kane, a former Big Four Partner. Kane joined AAB as a Director in 2017 in order to develop and grow a full-service consulting business across six key areas – strategy, operations, human capital, supply chain, IT/digital and data analytics.

AAB secures major investment for Scottish stock exchange drive

Following on from its high-profile launch, and staffing itself with an aim towards making ground on incumbent consulting firms, AAB has landed a major seven-figure equity investment for Project Heather – a client working to re-launch of the Scottish stock exchange after almost fifty years. Project Heather, headed by financial services entrepreneur Tomás Carruthers, will be headquartered in Edinburgh, with offices planned throughout Scotland.

It would be the first Scottish stock exchange since the closure of the trading floor in Glasgow in 1973. Five decades after that historic closure, however, the economic and political landscape of Scotland has shifted markedly. Devolution has seen the nation increasingly edge towards autonomy from the rest of the UK, while growth sectors such as renewable energy and biotechnology have established Scotland as a centre of global excellence. According to the team behind the stock exchange project, the venture will ensure companies can continue to find the financing they need to reach their full potential.

In late 2018, Project Heather agreed a partnership with one of the world’s largest stock exchange platforms, Euronext, to run the exchange on its Optiq trading platform. Following FCA approval, Project Heather plans to launch before the end of 2019, having already received significant national and international interest from businesses considering a listing on the exchange.

Brian McMurray and Stuart Cooper of AAB worked with Tomas and the Project Heather team in delivering fundraising advice, sourcing investors and ultimately securing the desired investment. A further institutional investment round is expected to kick off in the coming months, and interested parties should contact the team at AAB for more information.

Douglas Martin, Head of Corporate Finance commented, “We are delighted to have secured the investment for Project Heather which will help to re-establish the Scottish Stock Exchange after almost fifty years. Brian and Stuart have worked closely with Tomás and his team during this process, and we look forward to continuing the relationship and supporting the launch of Project Heather later this year.”

Tomás Carruthers, Founder and Chief Executive of Project Heather, added, “Working closely with AAB, securing this initial round of investment funding is enabling us to work on bringing a Scottish Stock Exchange to full fruition and launch in the second half of this year. We believe a stock exchange, built on the principles of raising capital to have a positive impact on society and the environment, will be a major contributor to sustainable economic growth both in Scotland and the UK as well as provide a destination for impact investors and issuers globally."