S&W: more mergers on the way

Speaking to from the firm’s West End offices, Pearce said: ‘I see some of the medium-tier names, perhaps all of them from six to fifteen [on the Accountancy Age Top 50] involved in another bout of mergers.

‘When it will happen I do not know.’

He added: ‘There is one hell of a dance going on at the moment. All the firms are talking to each other all the time.’

But Pearce said Smith & Williamson had no consolidation plans of its own and said the process would be a distraction. He said: ‘Our strategy is to look at hiring good individuals and teams with the odd acquisition.’

‘We will look for further acquisitions on an opportunistic basis.’ Last year S&W bought a small pensions practice in Bristol.

As for the accountancy market as a whole he said he would be amazed if there were not more consolidations in the near future.

Ian Buckley, chief executive at leading consolidator Tenon, is a former partner at Smith & Williamson. Earlier this year Tenon became the first accountancy-based business to list on the LSE. Its September interim results showed a profit with revenues approaching Pounds 60m.

Other mid-tier consolidators include Levy Gee, under the banner of Numerica.


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