OC&C Strategy Consultants expands to Australia and New Zealand

26 May 2021 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read

OC&C Strategy Consultants has entered the Australian market following a partnership with Australian Strategy Partners, a newly formed boutique strategic consulting firm.

The two firms have over the past months collaborated on close to a dozen engagements, said OC&C’s Global Managing Partner Will Hayllar. The two have “worked together on different topic areas,” to the extent that "we really have felt like we met kindred spirits.” 

Building on the relationship, Australian Strategy Partners has been named an affiliate firm of OC&C Strategy Consultants, meaning that the two firms will work together exclusively on engagements in their respective markets. 

OC&C Strategy Consultants expands to Australia and New Zealand

OC&C Strategy Consultants has around 500 consultants working from 11 offices globally, using its Hong Kong and Shanghai offices to serve its clients in Asia Pacific. The strategic partnership now provides it with market entry into a new region, with Australia and New Zealand’s consulting industry combined worth over AU$6 billion consulting industry.

“For our current clients, we can now offer a new capability in the Australasian market, allowing us to provide a more rounded service to our clients,” said Hayllar. Meanwhile, Australasian clients of Australian Strategy Partners will be able to leverage OC&C’s global team and client network in the private sector and private equity.

Founded just months ago, Australian Strategy Partners is a six-strong consultancy formed by EY-Parthenon alumni. Jeremy Barker founded EY-Parthenon in Australia in 2014 following a two decade career at Kearney, and led the practice for six years, growing it to a team of around five partners and thirty staff.

A gap in Australia's strategy scene

However, when EY-Parthenon doubled in size last year through the acquisition of local strategy consultancy Port Jackson Partners, he decided the time was right for a career change. With many Australian boutiques absorbed by the larger players in the past years (a trend also seen globally), “we saw a gap in the local market for high-quality independent strategic advice.” 

Barker is referring to Maurice Violani and Mark Blackwell, who joined him as founding partners of the Sydney-based firm, and the trio of Julie Preston, Simon Qi and Amanda Gibbs, who joined as founding team members.

Commenting on the partnership, Barker said, “OC&C gives us additional depth in focus areas including tech enabled strategies, private equity, consumer and retail, industrials and health. This partnership brings a very differentiated service in providing an integrated technology and commercial diligence service to private equity, with our clients telling us there is a real shortage of quality providers in this space.”

“Culturally we see a very strong fit,” he continued, pointing at their similar positioning in the market. OC&C Strategy Consultants is one of the last remaining consultancies that dedicates itself to strategic services (corporate strategy, commercial due diligence and top-line growth), resisting the lure of branching out to more tactical work – which guarantee longer projects but at the same time diversifies the portfolio of services.

The three largest strategy consulting firms in the world have diversified considerably over the past decade into fields including design thinking, digital, restructuring, cost management and implementation. This strategy has reaped dividends – McKinsey, BCG and Bain have all seen strong growth in recent years and now generate $24 billion in combined revenues. Five years ago, this number was below $18 billion.

OC&C Strategy Consultants and Australian Strategy Partners both have a specialist focus. Hayllar labelled his firm as "one of the last, independent strategy purists,” while Barker similarly suggested the firm had found "the best pure play global strategy firm that did not have a permanent presence in Australia" to partner with. 

Globally, OC&C has a small number of affiliate firms, including RedSeer in India and Asia. Two years ago, a former affiliate firm, Italy-based Long Term Partners (founded by ex-Bainees), decided to merge into the network.