Interview: Graeme Smith, Zolfo Cooper advisory services lead partner

by Beth Abel

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19 Jun 2014

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Graeme Smith

RESPONSIBILITY for the next phase of Zolfo Cooper's evolution rests on the shoulders of advisory services lead partner Graeme Smith.

The firm, known as an insolvency specialist, has formalised its ‘non-insolvency' services within new departments, with Smith heading up this dedicated advisory services practice.

Bringing together seven partners and 30 staff from five specialist teams within the firm, it aims to compliment the firm's existing restructuring services skills and provide solutions for existing and future clients. It incorporates debt advisory, forensic and litigation support, pensions advisory, capital management and corporate finance.

"It's all about aligning the non-restructuring elements of the firm together to respond to what our clients are demanding of us," says Smith. "The activity levels in the market are increasing as confidence returns, so bringing all the areas together makes it easier for our clients to recognise the services we provide."

More than a rebrand

But with these services already being offered, is this new structure little more than a branding exercise? Smith insists the new formation will make it "much easier" to provide multiple services to the firm's clients.

"It's about bringing our various specialisms together to deliver what our clients are asking of us.

"Some [services] have been long-standing and some have been added, as is the case with capital management and debt advisory. It's all just business capability growing."

He describes the "constant evolution" of the firm as being crucial to complimenting the services they already offer: "Zolfo Cooper has in recent years been active in roles such as chief restructuring officer, which previously weren't significant in the business, and continue to add services such as debt advisory, capital management and forensics and litigation. We are always on the lookout to add services which are complementary to what we do already."

Client demand

Some might question the move, arguing that businesses are likely to receive these services from their auditor or other consultancies. But Smith says that more and more clients are looking to hire advisers with a range of specialist skills, and that having these under one roof will enable clients "to help with all the challenges and opportunities they face".

The new offering isn't merely to provide services to offset its insolvency service line. "This is all about the business as a whole growing, it is not a case of one offsetting the other."

Zolfo Cooper's recent history of expansion suggests that more development can be expected in the not too distant future.

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