RSM Bentley Jennison has
acquired the core audit, accountancy and compliance tax arm of
troubled UK accountancy firm Wenham Major. Thirty staff, including
22 professionals, will join the Birmingham office of RSM Bentley
Jennison, adding £2 million ($3.9 million) to the firm’s national
fee income.

jWenham Major entered into administration with UK
consolidator Vantis recently after it emerged that financial
irregularities had been found at the Wenham Major Private Client
subsidiary. RSM Bentley Jennison managing partner Tony Stockdale
explained that the acquired parts of the business were completely
independent of the private client practice. “A few years back, a
decision [at Wenham Major] was taken to expand into other areas.
It’s my understanding that it is those other areas where the
problems are. Our due diligence on what we’ve purchased is that
there are no issues within the bit we now have.”

The addition grows Bentley
Jennison’s Birmingham office by about 15 percent. Wenham Major
director Viv Shadbolt joins the firm but previous joint owners
Ammar Azam and John Joyce, who were heavily involved in the private
client business, have not.

Stockdale said Wenham Major’s
reputation in the midlands region and the strength of its client
base, which features a lot of commercial assembly and manufacturing
companies, is what attracted Bentley Jennison to the firm.
“Clearly, £2 million revenue out of £80 million is not a big
number,” he said.

“We’ve never been a business that
is only interested in having £80 million, £100 million, or ‘x’
million on the top line. We’re not interested in the sum being a
big number. What we’re interested in is the quality being there and
Wenham Major has a high quality client base.”

RSM Bentley Jennison has doubled in
size every four years since its foundation in 1984. The acquisition
of Wenham Major is the firm’s third deal since January.

In April, RSM Bentley Jennison
Financial Management acquired the Chancery Group to become the UK’s
fifth largest financial management division of an accounting firm
and in March the firm

launched a new corporate restructuring division with a team from
Begbies Traynor.

Bentley Jennsion said it will grow in excess of 10 percent to more
than £70 million in fee income in the financial year ending May
2008. In last year’s International Accounting Bulletin UK
survey, the firm reported £63 million in revenue. Stockdale added:
“We’ve seen some pretty good growth, over 10 percent, and we are
looking towards building the business to £100 million as soon as we
sensibly can. I’d certainly expect that to be the case in 2009. I
don’t think our place on the league table will have changed. I’d be
surprised if we have. The real point is we will have gained on some
of those above us.”

Stockdale added that Bentley Jennison was in merger and
acquisition talks with three potential targets.

Arvind Hickman