Isio buys Deloitte’s 200-strong pensions advisory business

12 January 2023 3 min. read
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Wealth and investment advisory Isio has moved to purchase the UK pensions business of Big Four firm Deloitte. Isio was itself a carve out from a Big Four firm, having gained independence from KPMG in early 2020.

Isio began life as an independent firm larger than most, boasting more than 1,000 clients, ranging from mid-sized companies to FTSE 100s. In the three years since it’s Exponent-backed separation, from KPMG, though, it has sought to rapidly build on this early momentum.

The Isio team now consists of more than 800 people across nine regional hubs, counting household names such as Fujitsu, Serco, and Scottish Leather Group among its growing portfolio. This has been accelerated by acquisitions, with deals including the purchase of Premier Pensions Management – bought to help Isio provide a broader spectrum of pensions and financial advisory services to companies and individuals – in 2021.

Isio buys Deloitte’s 200-strong pensions advisory business

As it looks to supercharge its growth, Isio has commenced 2023 by announcing its intention to acquire Deloitte’s UK pensions business. Having signed an agreement to purchase the Deloitte Total Reward and Benefits (DTRB) team, Isio is expected to complete the move for an undisclosed fee, later in the spring – subject to FCA regulatory approval.

Andrew Coles, Chief Executive of Isio Group Limited, commented, “Deloitte’s UK pensions business has achieved great success to date and bringing the two businesses together will create exciting opportunities for our people, our clients and their pension scheme members. I look forward to welcoming the DTRB team into an environment which provides so much opportunity for career development and progression.”

The acquisition and addition of DTRB’s 200-strong workforce to Isio’s existing team will create one of the largest pensions advisory businesses in the UK once completed. The enlarged firm will have annual revenues of around £140 million, and 1,000 employees across its nine existing locations around the UK – including a new location in Belfast.

DTRB provides actuarial, pensions administration and investment services to some of the biggest organisations and pension plans across the UK. Its addition to Isio will provide the skills, propositions and services Isio feels are required to be “the advisor of choice” to many UK pension schemes and their sponsors.

Lisa Stott, Managing Partner Tax and Legal at Deloitte UK, added, “DTRB is one of the most well-respected pensions advisory businesses in the UK and our priority has always been to enable the team to diversify their business and expand into new areas. We are pleased that the deal will support the continued success of the DTRB business in the long term, providing the maximum opportunity for its growth and the development of its people. We wish the team every success.”

The move comes as the Big Four continue to evaluate the sales of a number of practices, which they fear will be impacted by coming regulatory changes. In recent years, the audit and advisory overlap of EY, PwC, KPMG and Deloitte for their UK clients have come under scrutiny, with critics suggesting that ‘conflicts of interest’ are behind some high-profile accounting failures linked to the professional services giants.

Deloitte has been weighing up its portfolio long before this sale of its pensions wing. The firm was reported to have weighed up selling off its restructuring arm in 2020, before later blocking the move. Meanwhile, notably EY has tabled plans to globally separate its audit and advisory brands.