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Hogan Lovells partner joins Baker McKenzie in Johannesburg

Baker McKenzie has appointed trade and commodity finance lawyer Lodewyk Meyer as a partner in its banking and finance practice group in Johannesburg.

Meyer was previously partner of the banking and finance team at Hogan Lovells in Johannesburg, where he had been since 2015.

His experience also includes roles at Norton Rose Fulbright, Bowman Gilfillan, Standard Chartered, Nedbank and Absa. Throughout his career he has advised banks, structured trade and speciality funds, and actors in the commodity value chain in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the US.

“Lodewyk’s hire forms part of our strategy to grow our transactional practice in Africa through strategic recruitment and organic promotions,” says Baker McKenzie managing partner Morne van der Merwe. “Lodewyk’s skills in trade, finance and investment in Africa are invaluable to multinational organisations who must negotiate a multitude of trade and finance laws and regulations when transacting across borders in Africa.”

Armanino recognised for excellence in Technology Consulting

Armanino LLP, one of the 25 largest accounting and business consulting firms in the United States, today announced it has been named a finalist for the 2019 Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Partner of the Year Award and to Bob Scott’s Top 100 VARs for 2019. The firm was selected by Microsoft as one of only 164 companies to be recognised in its Partner of the Year Awards from a field of nearly 3,000 nominees across 115 countries. Bob Scott’s Top 100 VARs are chosen from organisations specialising in the sale and implementation of enterprise resource planning and accounting software based on annual revenue.

“These recognitions tell a larger story about the level of detail and client service we put into every engagement. At each level, we strive to be the most innovative and entrepreneurial firm so we can make a positive impact on our clients,” said Matt Armanino, CEO at Armanino LLP. “We are excited to be named a finalist for the 2019 Microsoft Partner of the Year honour and to Bob Scott’s Top 100 VARs, because it means that impact is being felt with results and success for clients.”

Armanino was recognised for providing outstanding solutions and services in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. As a Gold Certified Microsoft Dynamics partner, Armanino serves on the Worldwide Partner Advisory Committee and has been named a Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle member six times since 2012. In March 2019, Armanino opened its Seattle office, providing direct access to the Microsoft ecosystem. The firm serves clients by defining digital transformation with cloud technologies and supports business process reengineering with a selection of solutions including AI, IOT and BI/Analytics created through Microsoft Business Applications.

The Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards recognise Microsoft partners that have developed and delivered exceptional Microsoft-based solutions during the past year. In addition to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Armanino offers a host of software solutions including Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement, Dynamics GP, Salesforce, Sage Intacct, Adaptive Insights, Microsoft Power BI, Workiva, BlackLine and more.

About Armanino LLP

Armanino LLP is one of the 25 largest independent accounting and business consulting firms in the nation. Armanino provides an integrated set of audit, tax, business management, consulting and technology solutions to companies in the United States and globally. The firm helps clients adapt and change in every stage of business, from startup through rapid growth to the sale of a company. Armanino emphasises smart technology, leading a cloud revolution of financial, operational, sales and compliance tools that are transforming the way companies do business. The firm extends its global services to more than 100 countries through its membership in Moore Stephens International Limited, one of the world’s major accounting and consulting membership organisations. In addition to its core consulting and accounting practices, Armanino operates its division, AMF Media Group, a media and communications services agency. Its affiliate, Intersect Capital, is an independent financial planning, wealth and lifestyle management firm.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit https://www.armaninollp.com/

How overseas growth can enhance your business

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.

Forging 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, CEO Jeff Ward led the business through a total rebranding and restructure when he joined three years ago.

“Centurion is a 140-year-old business and, while our history is something we’re enormously proud of, it was hindering our progress,” says Ward.

“There’s no getting away from the fact that we were stuck in the past. Yes, we’d developed our product range and, yes, we were doing OK, but we weren’t growing and our approach to business was dated. We expected new business to come to us instead of going all out to raise our profile, to network and to make the types of connections that would lead to new contracts.”

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.”

Approaching 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 US, 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.”

Disruptive trading app set to raise over $200 MILLION

United States-based stock and crypto trading app Robinhood is set to raise at least $200 million in a new funding round, Bloomberg reported on May 24.

Per the report, an unspecified source familiar with the matter told the outlet about the company’s plans to raise further funding. Moreover, Bloomberg reports that the round would increase the firm’s value to between $7 billion and $8 billion, but that the details could change.

Other people familiar with the matter also told Bloomberg that the new funds come from existing investors, all of whom asked not to be identified and to keep the details private. While the funding talks are reportedly ongoing, a further funding round could increase the company’s worth to $10 billion, but the numbers are subject to change until the deal is closed.

Robinhood, which allows for zero-fee stock trading, first introduced bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) trading in January last year.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this week, Robinhood has officially launched its crypto trading app in New York following the acquisition of a BitLicense by the New York State Department of Financial Services in January 2019.

Also during this week, the new April 2019 Exchange Review from crypto data provider Cryptocompare revealed that centralised cryptocurrency exchanges saw a major uptick in trade volume this April.

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BSI announces acquisition of US firm AppSec Consulting

BSI, a business improvement company, today announced the acquisition of AppSec Consulting – a cybersecurity and information resilience (CSIR) company – located in San Jose, California. This will see AppSec Consulting become a part of BSI’s CSIR offering and will operate under the name “AppSec Consulting – a BSI Professional Services Company”.

The acquisition of AppSec Consulting further strengthens BSI’s CSIR services in the United States – one of the company’s key markets.

Established 14 years ago, AppSec Consulting focuses on the US cybersecurity sector, servicing a wide range of clients across the country. The business was initially focused on web application security, penetration testing, and developer training and has since successfully diversified into providing strategic cybersecurity, data privacy, and a range of governance, risk and compliance advisory services.

Howard Kerr, Chief Executive at BSI, said: “This acquisition is reflective of our key strategic aim to expand our cybersecurity and information resilience offering, building a centre of excellence for organizations globally. AppSec Consulting is one of the most professional companies to emerge in the last 20 years. Their services perfectly complement those offered by the BSI Cybersecurity and Information Resilience teams in the UK and Ireland, which together with their reputation for excellence in client service, makes this a perfect match.”

Brian Bertacini, President at AppSec Consulting, commented: “Merging with BSI is the natural next step for AppSec Consulting, providing huge opportunity for both our clients and employees alike. We are delighted to benefit from BSI’s global reach and broader range of services, which – when combined with our proven cybersecurity expertise – will allow us to further expand and flourish.”