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Grant Thornton Sells Premier Advisory Business to 1825

Grant Thornton is one of the world’s largest professional services networks. The wealth unit, which has £1.7bn of assets under advice, consists of 100 employees, including 34 financial planners, all of whom will be joining 1825.

The business deal, which has been rumoured for a few weeks, is reportedly an attempt by Grant Thornton to distance itself from potential conflicts of interest, and to “streamline its focus”.

Dave Dunckley, the recently appointed Chief Executive Officer of Grant Thornton United Kingdom, said, “As we increase our focus on our strategy to provide high quality audit, tax and advisory services to our core markets, it is clear the wealth advisory team’s growth potential would be best delivered by a business focused solely on the financial advice market.”

In the wake of proposals from the Competition and Markets Authority, and from the Kingman review, the accountancy profession in the United Kingdom is under increasingly sharp scrutiny. Grant Thornton in particular has come in for criticism over its audit work on Patisserie Valerie.

Last week the firm announced a major overhaul of its audit arm. The changes include a new Audit Quality Board, a £7m investment in people and technology, an independent review of audit at the firm, and new centres of excellence in London and Birmingham.

The business deal is expected to be completed in Q4, 2019 and the terms remain undisclosed.

How Overseas Export Growth Can Enhance Your Business

An export in international trade is a good produced in one country that is sold into another country or a service provided in one country for a national or resident of another country. The seller of such goods or the service provider is an exporter; the foreign buyer is an importer.

Expanding overseas can play a critical role in the prosperity of many mid-market companies, so it’s no surprise that 37% of businesses expect to increase exporting in the coming year.

And if companies are not considering overseas growth, they can be sure their competitors will be.

Breaking New Ground

One company that is already looking at exporting well beyond Europe’s shores is Norfolk-based Centurion, which has been making protective head gear, including helmets and face screens, since the nineteenth century. To safeguard its future, Chief Executive Officer Jeff Ward led the business through a total rebranding and restructure when he joined three years ago.

Despite being one of the leading players in its sector, Ward says Centurion lacked visibility and definition in the market. “We were too vague about our identity, about what made us stand out from our competitors. Starting from scratch and looking at every aspect of our business helped us focus our attention on who we were and on our goals – the most vital of which was expanding overseas.”

Achieving Overseas Growth

Ward worked with our advisers on several aspects of Centurion’s restart, including raising its profile locally, optimising its R&D tax relief and, more recently, overseas growth.

Over the past year, its international sales have grown by 30% – from £6 million to £9 million – and Ward expects this to continue in 2019, mainly in the Middle East and the United States, where the company has a new partnership.

Repositioning itself in both the domestic and international marketplace was key to Centurion’s recent growth. “Exposure, perception and connections are vital when you are trying to expand,” says Ward. “Grant Thornton elevated our profile, initially on a local level by showcasing our company and its success as one of the top 100 businesses in Norfolk, and then by advising on our overseas growth.

These are still early days, but I’m happy with the opportunities that are opening up. I’m excited about the partnerships we’ve established and hope that more will follow this year.”

Why Do Rugby Union Players Make Such Good Business People?

Rugby union is known around the globe for being a hard hitting, but fair sport. In many ways it’s hard to imagine parallels between the boardroom and rugby pitch. But the Advisory Excellence journalism department found that might not be the case.

Rugby union’s historical frugality is a major reason for its close and practical ties to business, says Sean Fitzpatrick. Sean recently spoke at Grant Thornton’s Inspiring Business event, which was part of a series dedicated to generating ideas amongst coveted audiences.

George Gregan is one of the Australia’s most successful rugby union players. However, five years into his international career George started his own small business called GG’s Espresso shop, which is based in Sydney Australia’s business district.

George and Erica Gregan

George and Erica Gregan

To a soccer fan this might sound like an odd move, but there lies one of the major differences between a game in which you throw the ball and one in which you kick it.

Rugby union went professional in 1995, and although the amount of money pumped into the sport has steadily increased, players’ wages are still small compared to that of soccer.

Entrepreneurship is therefore crucial for players heading into their twilight years.

Advisory Excellence would like to give shout out to The Rugby Business Network. A popular world-wide not-for-profit organisation that aims to connect senior business people who share a passion for rugby union at private networking dinners and events.