London-based Catalyst Development Ltd, an award-winning specialist financial markets consulting firm, has announced its merger with global financial services specialists Sionic Advisors. The deal is set to create one of the world’s largest and fastest growing specialist consulting firms, operating with a fully internationalised platform for their global client base. Following the merger, the Group will have a combined revenue of over $60m and a staff base of more than 300 professionals based in a dozen locations across North America, Europe and Asia.
This merger follows Catalyst’s acquisition of asset and wealth management specialists Knadel in February 2018, backed by investment from mid-market private equity firm Livingbridge, who first invested in 2017. Catalyst specialises in regulatory-driven change, organisational improvement and talent development programmes for global financial markets firms.
Since its foundation in 1994, Catalyst has worked with more than 70 clients in over 30 financial centres worldwide, including nine out of the world’s top 12 investment banks, and has mentored more than 250 of the most senior figures in financial markets. Sionic Advisors deliver change, optimisation and strategic initiatives to a wide range of financial services institutions from bases in eight countries around the globe.
The merged business now plans to accelerate its growth of ‘specialism at scale’ in response to client demand. Global spend on financial services consulting in 2018 was $38bn, up from $17bn in 2008, with an 8 to 10% compound annual growth rate. Over 70% of that spend relates to technology, operations, risk and regulatory compliance and change in banking, capital markets and insurance in North America, Europe and Asia: exactly the combined firm’s key areas of expertise.
Livingbridge’s US team, based out of their Boston office, worked alongside Catalyst management to help develop their US acquisition strategy. The cross-border team has helped management to execute the merger, advising on transaction considerations from both sides of the Atlantic and will continue to support as the two businesses integrate over the coming months.
Catalyst Group CEO, Andrew Middleton said, “This is a transformational merger that will create a world-leading specialist firm. Sionic has highly regarded expertise in our core banking market, enabling us to scale our delivery of complex assignments for clients worldwide, and a lead position in the US and Canada.
“Catalyst has a lead position in London and both offshore and nearshore offices, along with specialist asset and wealth management expertise, an international track record in people, talent and change and a global track record of developing financial markets infrastructure for clearing houses and exchanges.”
Sionic Co-Founder and Group CEO, Craig Sher said, “This is a perfect match. We’re known as experts in our field and as fast-growth disruptors of outdated models of consultancy. Like Catalyst, we deliver measurable value and best in class change services in control and governance, regulatory change, operations, risk, finance and technology. We’re looking forward to working together to expand our services and reach to create an even bigger and better firm for our clients, staff and investors alike.”
Livingbridge Partner, Pete Clarke said, “Both firms are experts in creating value for clients in a highly demanding sector. We are delighted to support the combined international ambitions of Catalyst and Sionic, including from our US operations located near the Sionic New York HQ. This is just the beginning for the group, which will continue to grow rapidly and target further strategic acquisitions.”
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