RSM Partner Rob Parry joins Quantuma Manchester office

10 April 2019

Quantuma has appointed Rob Parry as a Partner to its Manchester office, as it grows its North West presence. Before joining Quantuma, Parry spent more than 20 years with RSM, where he was also a Partner.

Corporate recovery and business advisory firm Quantuma has seen a busy period recently, as a number of previously up-and-coming UK businesses have floundered amid difficult trading conditions. Kicking on from its recently celebrated fifth anniversary, the firm reported a strong financial performance, with turnover for the year to 31 March 2018 having risen to £10.4 million, an increase of 10% on 2017 levels. The firm has been expanding its team to meet heightened demand in its offices in London, Southampton, Bristol, Marlow, Watford, Brighton, Birmingham, Manchester, Ringwood and Weymouth.

The business advisory firm has appointed Rob Parry as a Partner to its Manchester office, as it expands its North West presence. The appointment follows the opening of Quantuma’s new Manchester offering, joining the city’s booming financial and professional services sector. From its base at Number One, Spinningfields, the firm provides a full range of advisory services, including corporate finance, forensic accounting and restructuring.Rob Parry - Partner at QuantumaParry brings some three decades of industry experience to the role, having spent his career as a specialist forensic accountant, with a UK-wide and international remit. He joins from the Manchester office of global professional services firm RSM, where he served for 24 years. During that time, he acted as an expert accountant in over 500 cases, in a diverse range of industries, and for amounts at stake ranging from tens of thousands to £100 million. Previously, he was a Consultant at KPMG.

Commenting on his new role, Rob Parry said, “It’s widely-known in the market that Quantuma is breaking the mould of a traditional professional services firm. The team is of an exceptional calibre, and its boutique structure means it is able to take on some of the most exciting mandates across the UK. I look forward to continuing to work with outstanding lawyers and clients across the UK at this exciting time for Quantuma.”

Carl Jackson, Managing Partner at Quantuma, added, “Rob is highly-regarded in his field for his expertise, and a sought-after advisor for complex commercial disputes, so it’s a real pleasure to welcome him to the fold. The North West is a commercial hotspot, and a target area of growth for us. There is an influx of investment in Manchester, and with its strong connectivity links and breadth of talent, the city’s financial and professional services sector will continue to evolve.”


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Private equity firms ramp up sustainability focus

19 April 2019

In line with business leaders across the industrial gamut, private equity firms are increasingly on board with sustainability projects. According to a new study, the investment arms for major funds are implementing a number of strategies aimed at supporting sustainable economic development in line with global goals.

While the business world has finally begun to acknowledge the danger of climate change, effective action plans remain difficult to achieve. The Paris Agreement has stipulated a clear target for the decades leading up to 2100, although massively reducing emissions while not crashing the economy could be a tall order.

Businesses that are able to acquire capital can use it to boost productivity and output, thereby creating a virtuous cycle of development. However, some businesses are better able to utilise resources than others, both in terms of their relative productivity, as well as the value of the respective outcomes relative to costs (including environmental harms). Financing can therefore provide an avenue to select businesses that are aligned with various global sustainability goals, while shunning those that drive little or unsustainable social value creation.

Top moves made by investment arms towards responsible investment

Profit has for the longest time been the central criterion for investment decisions. Yet profit at any cost is increasingly seen as creating considerable social harms, while often delivering only marginal value. As a result, the private equity sector, which was initially sluggish to change its ways with regards to sustainability, has started to see the topic as an opportunity as much as a challenge.

A new study from PwC has explored how far sustainability goals have become part of the wider investment strategy for private equity (PE) firms. The report is based on analysis of a survey of 162 firms and includes responses from 145 general partners and 38 limited partners.

Maturing sustainability

Top-line results show that responsible investment has become an issue for 91% of respondents. For 81% of respondents, ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) was a board matter at least once a year, while 60% said that they already have implemented measures to address human rights issues. Two-thirds have identified and prioritised Sustainable Development goals that are relevant to their investment segments.

Change in concern and action on climate-related topics over time

While there is increasing concern around key issues, from human rights protections to environmental and biodiversity protection, the study finds there are mismatches between concern and action. For instance, concern among investment vehicles around climate change has increased since 2016.

In terms of risks to the PE firm itself, concern has increased from 46% of respondents in 2016 to 58% in the latest survey. However, the number who have taken action remains far below those concerned, at 9% in 2016 and 20% in 2019. Given the relatively broader scope of investment opportunities, portfolio companies face higher risks – and more concern – from PE professionals, at 83% in the latest survey. However, action is less than half of those concerned, at 31%.

Changing climate

In terms of the climate footprint of the portfolio companies, 77% of respondents state concern in the latest survey. 28% of respondents are taking action through the implementation of measures to mitigate their concerns.

Concern and action taken on ESG issues

In terms of the more pressing issues for emerging responsible investment or ESG issues, governance concern of portfolio companies comes in at number one (92% of respondents), while 60% have taken action on it. Firms have focused on improving awareness – setting up policies and a range of training modules for their professionals around responsible investment decision making. Cybersecurity takes the number two spot, with 89% concerned and 41% implementing strategies to mitigate risks.

Climate risks take the number three spot in terms of concern for portfolio companies (83%), but falls behind in terms of action (31%). Health and safety track records are a key concern at 80% of businesses, with 49% implementing action. Gender imbalance within PE firms themselves ranks at 78%, which is being dealt with by 31%. A recent survey from Oliver Wyman showed that there is gender balance at 13% of GP teams in developed countries.

Biodiversity is also an increasingly pertinent topic, with risks from pollution and chemical use increasingly driving wider systematic risks around environmental outcomes. It featured at number eight on the ranking of most likely global risks for the coming decade, with its impact at number six. As it stands, biodiversity is noted as an issue at 57% of firms, with 15% implementing action.