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KATO Consulting and Foulger Underwood announce merger

MARKET CONSULTANCIES in practice development KATO Consulting and Foulger Underwood have completed a merger as they seek to serve a growing number of firms.

The combined practice will trade as FOULGER UNDERWOODKATO, with the merged firm’s team comprising Foulger Underwood managing director, Keith Underwood, KATO co-founder Phil Shohet (pictured) and Foulger Underwood senior consultant, Derek Smith who was formerly managing partner of Mazars Neville Russell.

KATO co-founder Andrew Jenner will be retiring, but remain available on a consultancy basis.

With many Top 50+50 firms posting growth figures below 5% – and some not growing at all – the newly-merged firm expects the typical practice will have to refocus, possibly giving up parts of the business.

Phil Shohet described the deal as a “merger of equals”.

He told Accountancy Age: “We both do similar things and hold similar objectives. There aren’t many doing both consultancy and M&A work, and they of course are closely linked. This deal allows us to glean a great volume of business.

“The profession’s flat at the moment, and there’s going to have to be a degree of specialisation for firms. Small firms will have to better choose their clients and improve strategy in areas like succession planning.”

Keith Underwood added: “By pooling our resources, experience and specialisms we feel we are well placed to address the challenges that practices will face over the next five to ten years.”

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