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September 29, 2008

Consolidation continues in UK’s lower mid-tier market

By Nicholas Moody

The UK lower mid-tier market continues to consolidate and grow due to increasing international referral work and M&A activity, according to CharterGroup chief executive Gary Corbett.

Corbett confirmed consolidation has increased over the past four years right throughout the mid-tier and lower mid-tier.

“Our growth is bolstered by quite a high degree of merger activity, so you could say that we outperform the market by between 5 and 10 percent on organic growth. But that can be swung dramatically by acquisition of some of our larger firms that have doubled in size in the last three years,” he said.

CharterGroup is an alliance of 55 independent mid-tier chartered accounting firms that recently formed a national cross-disciplinary partnership with LawNet, an association of independent law firms. CharterGroup’s firms range in size from £2 million to £11 million ($3.5 million to $19.39 million) in fee income with the alliance generating £166 million in total.

The new national partnership with LawNet is designed to increase referrals between the two groups and drive the combined revenue of both groups past £400 million.

Apart from standard accounting work, the group’s members provide tax planning, M&A, corporate finance and corporate recovery services.

Corbett said there has recently been a noticeable rise in the number of requests for international work within his UK alliance and from other international accounting associations.

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