EY acquires Dutch financial advisory firm Montesquieu

26 February 2016 Consultancy.uk

Accounting and advisory organisation EY has acquired Montesquieu, a Netherlands based financial advisory firm. Roughly thirty advisors will join the advisory practice of the Big Four firm. For EY, the step is in line with the firm’s ambition to become the market leader in debt advisory, risk management and treasury in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Montesquieu was founded in 2003 by Angelique Paulissen, Joep Munten and Ralph Poulssen. Prior to Montesquieu, all three founders were active in the treasury world: Paulissen among others at ABN Amro and Rabobank, Munten at ABN Amro and Société Générale, while Poulssen was active as a treasurer at packaging company Smurfit Kappa. Under their leadership, Montesquieu built a strong track record in the area of financial consulting and risk management. The consultancy firm provides advice to corporations, public organisations and institutional investors, and is in possession of a practicing license from the Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) since 2008.


Over the past years, Montesquieu has booked strong growth – the company of late managed to scoop five growth awards from the FD (the counterpart of the FT in the Netherlands) – and as it stands currently employs a team of approximately thirty staff.

In line with the broader developments in the market, Montesquieu noticed the growing need to both deepen as well as broaden its portfolio. "Our clients increasingly ask for a more integral approach facing their challenges in the area of treasury", Paulissen states, who in 2011 was named ‘Business Women of the Year’ in the country. With that in mind, Montesquieu decided to join forces with EY. “By joining EY, we are able to service our clients even better", says Paulissen. As part of the transaction, Paulissen has been appointed a partner at the Big Four firm and will serve as Executive Director of Montesquieu. Co-founder Munten has decided to depart after 12.5 years to focus entirely on his new venture, Hartelt Fund Management, while too Poulssen remains on board.

For EY, the deal is in line with its ambition to "become a market leader in debt advisory, risk management and treasury in The Netherlands and in Belgium", comments Marcel van Loo, Country Managing Partner at EY, adding: "We are proud that Montesquieu has joined our ranks. The combination of Montesquieu with EY adds a crucial component to our services. We have combined a strong brand with specific expertise, which will lead to further growth.”

Besides an economic fit, the integration also brings benefits to the employees of Montesquieu such as "wonderful group activities and an increase in career advancement possibilities”, reflects Paulissen, both in The Netherlands as well as internationally. “The working cultures of EY and Montesquieu fit in seamlessly with one another,” she concludes.

The transaction fits in a larger trend: big accounting firms are actively working on broadening their position in the consultancy industry – a market which is enjoying strong growth and lucrative margins. EY for example previously acquired data-analyst i3 (in January this year), and in the summer of 2015 the advisory giant purchased Intergrc, a specialist in the area of governance, risk and compliance.


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SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

19 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

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.”