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Also in this Issue: Goal Group Limited Broadway Trust Consultancy Services Ltd (BTCSL) IIZI Firstbrokers Oy Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices Futurelink Accountancy Services Leroy şi Asociaţii

Welcome Within an industry filled at times with uncertainty, dedicated firms and individuals work tirelessly to help grow the global economy. As such, the 2017 International Finance Awards celebrate the extraordinary talents of those within the industry. These awards have been designed to recognise the dedication and innovation made by leading lights of this dynamic domain.

Contents 3. Goal Group Limited International Securities Class Actions Recovery Firm of the Year - UK 3. McCracken Advisory Partners Most Trusted M&A Investment Banking Firm - USA 4. Capital Corp Merchant Banking (CCMB) Best International Project Financing Firm – USA & Gilles Herard Merchant Banking CEO of the Year - USA 5. Blueray Capital AI International Finance 2017 & Best Technology Focused Angel Investment Firm 2017 5. Broadway Trust Consultancy Services Ltd (BTCSL) Best in Trust & Foundation Services – Belize 6. IIZI Firstbrokers Oy Best Finnish Insurance Brokerage 2017 7. Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices Best Banking & Finance Law Firm - Philippines 7. Futurelink Accountancy Services Best for Sole Trader Payroll Services - UK 8. Leroyşi Asociaşii Best Banking & Finance Law Firm – Romania 9. randd uk limited Best in R&D Tax Credits 2017 10. Phil Anderson Financial Services Best Independent Financial Advisers - Scotland 11. Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices Best Banking & Finance Law Firm - Philippines 11. Futurelink Accountancy Services Best for Sole Trader Payroll Services - UK 12. SmartDebit Best Direct Debit Bureau - UK 12. Willis Towers Watson Most Influential M&A Advisor 2017 - New York 13. The Finance Equation Ltd Best Book-Keeping & Tax Advisory - UK 14. Petrus Financial Services Ltd Best Private Client Services Company - UK

Goal Group Limited

McCracken Advisory Partners



Contact: : Director of Sales & Relationship Management EMEA & Global Director of Withholding Tax Sales Vicky Dean Contact Email: Address: Ground floor, 69 Park Lane, Croydon, CR9 1BG, UK Phone: +44 (0) 208 760 7130 Webstie:

Contact: Keith McCracken Contact Email: Address: 5200 Willson Road, Suite 150, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55424, USA Phone: 001 952 922 8140

International Securities Class Actions Recovery Firm of the Year - UK

Goal Group Limited Goal Group Limited is a company dedicated to helping the world’s largest financial institutions maximise investor returns. We invited Vicky Dean, Director of Sales & Relationship Management at Goal Group to tell us more about the firm. Goal Group was established in 1989, and is headquartered in London, expanding across the US and Asia Pacific, where each office is staffed by local tax, legal and securities experts. It’s market-leading proprietary software and systems provide the highest levels of data security and process automation, offering investors an efficient and cost-effective way to reclaim tax on cross-border dividend out of their service, also alluding to the income and participate in securities enjoyable working culture at the firm. class actions. Vicky outlines the firm’s mission and what steps they take to “Goal Group operates in a niche reach their goal. position in financial services and it is the only class actions and tax “AT Goal Group we offer a truly reclaim company to have global global, secure service which processing capability to service its includes the initial alert notification, clients locally. The firm also offers the loss calculations, completion and highest levels of data security and submission of the relevant claim process automation. Office politics documentation and subsequent and “can’t do” are simply not a part of collection of the compensation our business culture; our people are monies. Goal Group’s client web treated with respect and are trusted to portals offer a powerful reporting deliver without being micro-managed. function on both securities class This in turn, ensures a premier service actions recoveries and withholding delivery.” tax reclaims. The online reporting portals give clients secure access to Looking ahead, Goal has a number their accounts to view statements, of exciting opportunities in store as browse libraries of information, it seeks to grow even further and generate multilingual client and audit provide its clients with an even wider trail reports and provide the means service offering, as Vicky concludes. for them to upload and transfer non“Moving forward, we are preparing confidential documentation.” the company for a potential AIM listing and, as an integral part of this Alongside this, Vicky explains how strategy, we are launching two new they stand out from their competitors products which will leverage our in the way of client relationship and current technologies whilst generating making sure the clients get the best significant annuity revenues.”

Most Trusted M&A Investment Banking Firm - USA

McCracken Advisory Partners McCracken Advisory Partners is an international investment banking firm focused on mergers and acquisitions. Keith McCracken tells us more about the firm and the range of services it offers in this vital sector. McCracken provides sell-side and buy-side counsel to advertising, marketing services and media agencies and to marketing technology firms. Keith talks us through how the firm works to ensure that these clients receive the very highest standard of service which meets their individual needs. “Here at McCracken we thoughtfully advise clients on how to maximize value through organic growth trajectories, acquisitions and exit strategies. At McCracken, we understand the client-driven, culturecritical and people-centric aspects of the business – the very factors that often define the odds of a successful deal and mutually rewarding posttransaction relationship for both and proven process to help each client achieve extraordinary buyer and seller. outcomes.” “Fundamentally, our clients are not forward, McCracken’s looking for approximately the right Moving deal. They are seeking precisely ongoing focus will be on growth and the right deal with precisely the further expansion, as Keith is keen right partner. “We dig deeper, build to emphasise. stronger relationships, ask tougher questions and relentlessly pursue “Looking to the future, we want to complete answers to optimize continue to grow even further, whilst the value of every aspect of the at the same time retaining our ability to serve every client with our most transaction”. experienced people being heavily “Overall, buying or selling a company involved from start to finish. We are is about more than the money. Price not willing to sacrifice the quality of is only the beginning. Cultural fit our work or the hugely important is crucial. Optimizing the earn-out outcomes our clients deserve and is vital. As such at McCracken, trust McCracken to deliver, and this we operate by this principal and commitment will be the focus of our customize our time-tested approach future growth strategy.”

Acquisition International - M&A Awards 2017 3


Best International Project Financing Firm – USA & Gilles Herard Merchant Banking CEO of the Year - USA Contact: Gilles Herard Contact Email: gherard@ Address: 390 N. Orange Ave. Suite 1800, Bank of America Center, Orlando, FL, 32801, USA Phone: 001 407 540 0142 Web Address: www. capitalcorpmerchantbanking. com &

Capital Corp Merchant Banking (CCMB) Capital Corp Merchant Banking (CCMB) is part of a group that was formed over three decades ago to meet the growing needs of companies / clients and promoters looking for funding and professional assistance in a diversity of projects. We invited Gilles Herard to talk us through the firm and how it has flourished over this time. Established in 1993, CCMB is a wholly owned subsidiary of Capital Corp Canada (CCC) which was formed in 1982 and in turn is controlled by the Herard Family Foundation. Since inception the firm has offered pure Merchant Banking Services, acting as Corporate Investor and Advisor for Privately controlled Mid-Size Companies, in project financing ranging in size from $25.0M to $250.0M. Gilles outlines the firm’s service offering in more detail and explains how it works to ensure excellence for clients. “At CCMB, our interventions are mainly focused on Equity Funding, but we can also do Conventional Financing. Additionally, we accept projects from countries all over the world all over the world, including emerging economies, but only from countries not under any sanctions from the American Government.

“Merchant Banking has been in existence for about 3,000 years, so based on that history, I would like to think it will still be in existence for years and years to come.” “Client service is paramount in any service company, and it the same at CCMB, and because our clients are coming from all over the world, speak different languages, practice different religions and are from different social - realities - we always put extra efforts into understanding their projects from their perspective taking in consideration their realities, and we never engage in any foreign project without visiting the project on site. This offers our clients a feeling of comfort and ensures that we always provide them with the highest possible quality of service.” What truly sets the firm apart is its international focus and experience in the merchant banking market, as Gilles explains. “Fundamentally, CCMB is an International Merchant Banking firm, and as such is a highly specialized firm in a highly specialized industry and only a very few firms are able to last in that business. In fact, most of the firms that are formed do not last much 4 Acquisition International - International Finance Awards 2017

more than a few years, and the reason for that is because our operations are subject to any and all turmoil going on all over the world, and - the - major challenge for CCMB is to be fully aware. At all time, of what is happening abroad and what impact it can have on existing projects and of course new projects.” Looking to the future Gilles is positive as he discusses CCMBs upcoming projects and how the firm will continue to adapt around its fast paced market. “Merchant Banking has been in existence for about 3,000 years, so based on that history, I would like to think it will still be in existence for years and years to come. Ours is an ever evolving industry, and as such at we will soon announce our financial involvement in major “Renewable Energy Projects in line with current industry trends. “Ultimately, at CCMB we adapt constantly, and for us we are already geared to adapt to what tomorrow will bring.

Blueray Capital

Broadway Trust Consultancy Services Ltd (BTCSL)



Contact: Glen Wilson Contact Email: Address: Suite# 501, 5th Floor, The Matalon Business Center / P.O. Box 2130, Coney Drive, Belize City, Belize Phone: 00501 223 1756 Website:

Name: Adrian Reeve Email: adrian.reeve@ Website: 20-22 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7GU Tel: 0845 273 3846 Email:

AI International Finance 2017 & Best Technology Focused Angel Investment Firm 2017

Blueray Capital Blueray Capital provides early stage Investment in its preferred sectors and development capital for strategic opportunities. We invited Adrian Reeve to tell us more about the firm and what makes it successful. Blueray Capital provides funding for early stage and developing businesses alongside accredited investors, syndicates and investment funds. Typical seed rounds are between £250k and £1m, and larger funds, in excess of £5m, are available for development finance and strategic opportunities. Adrian commented on their approach. “Blueray Capital was founded in 2009 and has funded companies in Business Services, Cloud/Saas, EngTech, FinTech, Lifestyle and MedTech sectors. The partners have considerable experience in growing large, international businesses as well as scaling startups. We welcome approaches from entrepreneurs, management teams, intermediaries and other investor groups. We are especially interested in revenue generating businesses, in our preferred sectors, that have potential to scale.”

Broadway Trust Consultancy Services Limited Broadway Trust Consultancy Services Ltd (BTCSL), part of Offshore Solutions Group Services (OSL) provides trust, companies and insurance establishment and management services to practitioners, banks, and intermediaries. We profiled the firm and OSL to find out a bit more.

exciting exits and follow-on rounds at increased valuations. This has given us confidence to expand into strategic opportunities.” In his concluding comments Adrian talks us through the firm’s plans for the future and how it plans to capitalise on its current success.

“Thanks to our recent success, we are now able to deploy additional capital, through new partnerships, which not only gives us the ability to invest in subsequent rounds but enables us also to respond to larger deals. We continue to add considerable value to management teams, spending quality time with companies we have “Setting ourselves aside from our funded.” competitors, our mission is to work with dynamic entrepreneurs and Adrian concluded that Blueray Capital successful management teams to is delighted to be the recipient of this help them create valuable businesses, prestigious award, which is accepted resulting in significant returns. We in recognition of the excellent are pleased to have achieved some companies the firm supports. Many exciting technologies and disruptive companies have emerged, just in the Fintech space, but they are not the only source of interest to Blueray Capital, which differentiates itself through its mission, as Adrian explains.

Best in Trust & Foundation Services – Belize

BTCSL was established as part of OSL to perform specific roles and is fully licensed to act as a Registered Agent and Registered Office for IBC’s and LLC’s which are established in Belize. The firm is also fully licensed to carry out the function of Trust and Foundation Agent under the International Trust and Foundation Laws. BTCSL provides trust, corporate and IT consultancy to the Offshore Financial Services industry however, it focuses on other providers in Belize. BTCSL can provide full management services for International Insurance Companies established in Belize through two subsidiaries. Formed of three companies, the OSL Group is set up in such a way that it is able to cater for the diverse and complex problems presented to it by Practitioners, Banks, Intermediaries and Individuals. Each company, including BTSCL, performs specific roles to combine with each other to give a cohesive service and structuring for all of its clients.

effective service whilst operating with the highest integrity and at the same times feels it is can give confidence to its clients. Alongside BTCSL, the OSL group comprises of Bitterne International Trust Consultants Limited (BITCL) and Bay Trust International Limited (BTIL). BITCL is also a fully licensed Trust Company that is providing foundation services as well as offering an alternative trustee, should areas of conflict arise. BTIL is fully licensed to establish Belize International Trusts and Foundations and to act as Trustees of such trusts as well as trusts established in other jurisdictions and to administer Belize International Foundations. Its main specialisation is the administration of UK law Pension and Remuneration Trust. Fundamentally, the OSL Group utilises its three companies in order to offer advice and solutions to an excellent standard, which in turn provides confidence for the development of a secure relationship.

Offshore Solutions have adopted the boutique style of business where its services offered are bespoke rather than standard. The firm believes that it can deliver an efficient cost Acquisition International - M&A Awards 2017 5


Best Finnish Insurance Brokerage 2017 Contact: Jaava Myllyniemi Contact Email: Address: Vattuniemenkuja 4 E, Helsinki, FI-00210, Finland Website:

IIZI Firstbrokers Oy IIZI Firstbrokers Oy is first in its field in Finland servicing companies in risk management. We profiled the firm to find out more about the services it offers and its recent accomplishments. IIZI Firstbrokers audit Oy benchmark, design and administrate all kinds of risks. The firm possesses over 25 years of experience in servicing multinational clients together with its networks in Finland and Finnish clients abroad. A truly multilingual staff with expertise and talent to listen have led the company to a lot of recent success. The company takes care of the insurance business of its client companies from start to finish and is always at the customer’s side. Staff map the customers’ risks, analyse them and make an action plan on the required insurance coverage. The firm competes for insurance and then provides the right solutions for which the customer chooses to ensure their insurance coverage. Recent developments have seen the firm accomplish new network partners worldwide and it has won several big clients in global tenders. Specialising in employee benefits, the company is always looking to put its clients first, making sure staff and employees in other companies get the best cover for their insurance.

Keeping up with developments within the industry, the firm are always monitoring trends and working on ideas as to how stay ahead of other companies’ advances. Working within Finland may see some major challenges to the business but also some benefits. The market is limited within Finland, as the insurance market is dominated by three carries who make the market unique. IIZI attempts to offer variety of foreign choices and alternatives to its domestic clients. Staff at the firm are always striving to provide the best possible service to clients. The employees work fast and are easy to understand, as well as being honest and open, keeping clients up to date with any developments. The company work hard to ensure that no matter what size the client is, they will get the same service as a big multi-national company can expect. Being a business that ensures clients get the best service, the firm works hard to ensure staff employ a personal touch without the industry jargon. The

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team at IIZI believe that good customer relationships ensures good business for both the company and the client. Staff are able to follow easy and simple processes when working with clients. Contributing the firms ongoing success is the ongoing auditing clients in order to identify potential risks. Transparency is a key factor in differentiating IIZI Firstbrokers apart from its competitors. The firm believes its transparency allows it to build up trust and confidence with its clientele. Customers are able to feel comfortable even if they are discussing a complex issue with staff, thanks to employees being compassionate and understanding with any issue that arises. Keeping up with developments within the industry, the firm are always monitoring trends and working on ideas as to how stay ahead of other companies’ advances. Notable trends include when the economy has slowed down and clients are concentrating on their more important tasks and business, therefore outsourcing the rest of their work to professionals such as IIZI. With regard to the future, the firm will look to adapt to new potentially challenging issues such as a rise in cybercrime which could have a serious effect on companies. As more and more new products become available, there will be new dangers and risks which the staff at IIZI will be looking to tackle and protect the firm’s clients. With its excellent customer service and wealth of experience, the firm can look ahead to building on its strong foundations.

Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices

Futurelink Accountancy Services



Contact: Ramil E. Bugayong Contact Email: Address: 10th Floor 8 Rockwell, Hidalgo Corner Plaza Drive Rockwell Center, Makati City, 1200, Philippines Phone: 00632 840 5025 Website:

Contact: Adam Becker Contact Email: adam.becker@ Address: Kings House Station Road, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, WD4 8LZ, UK Phone: 01923 277900 Website: www. futurelinkaccountancyservices.

Best Banking & Finance Law Firm - Philippines

Best for Sole Trader Payroll Services - UK

Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices

Futurelink Accountancy Services

Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices is valued by its clients for exceptional work in transactions and project development in the Philippines. We invited Ramil E. Bugayong to give us an insight into what makes the firm successful. PJS Law’s clients see us not just as legal advisors, but more like strategic partners in their businesses. As such, PJS Law has been consistently cited by leading legal and financial publications as one of the leading Philippine law firms recommended for energy and projects, mergers and acquisition, banking, capital markets, project finance and restructuring and insolvency. Ramil outlines the firm’s mission and the steps that the team will take to achieve this. “In 1997, our mission was set and has remained our guidepost in all our endeavors: we take pride in providing excellent legal service and exceptional client care, through a combination of traditional approaches and cuttingedge innovations. This is the standard by which we measure ourselves: from our hiring and promotion policies, to the service levels and identification of target clients and industries to grow in our practice.” Regarding the future for PJS Law, Regina emphasises that the firm plans to take a major role in contributing to the progress of the Philippines, which will benefit an increasing number of people. “One of the values the firm fosters among our lawyers is the conscious awareness of their responsibility in transactions and projects in the context of the Philippines as an

Futurelink Accountancy Services became a Chartered Accountancy practice in January 2017. We profiled the firm and invited Adam Becker to tell us why it is so successful. Futurelink Accountancy Services – Chartered Accountants was an offshoot of Futurelink Group with a specialism in IR35 accountancy services. In just 6 months, Futurelink has developed its own app, become a Quickbooks Platinum partner, a FreeAgent Premium Partner, a Xero Bronze partner, a 2020 Group Virtual Marketing partner as featured in 2020’s Accountex marketing literature and filed over 100 tax returns in January. Futurelink’s latest achievement has been named Finalists for SEVEN awards in the British Accountancy Awards 2017; something the firm is extremely proud of and excited for the award ceremony in October.

emerging economy. As lawyers, we see ourselves as contributors to this progress of the country to benefit an increasing number of people. “In the months ahead, we see the firm establishing greater foothold in the Infrastructure space in the Philippines and in the region. We have already seen this translated in the transactions we handled in the energy, finance and M&A sectors over the last few years, and increasing for the next few years. For the remainder of 2017, PJS Law will continue to focus on these sectors as we are called on by new clients to do so, based on referrals from existing clients and correspondent counsels, to assist them on their projects. “

With a young, enthusiastic and entrepreneurial vision, the practice was created to embrace the digital world, collaboratively working with clients in near real time providing relevant financial information enabling them to run their business at optimal levels with a view on future plans. Adam Becker talks to us about the firm’s commitment to high client satisfaction and its connections within the market which enable Futurelink to stand out in the crowd, something so important in the finance industry. “Here at Futurelink, our dedication to technology and hands on approach with clients prevents errors,

therefore fees are reduced and incurred as a value added benefit. Interaction and benefits range from proactive quarterly client reviews, dividend advice, tax efficient profit extraction and wealth management. Ultimately, our aim is to see our clients business’ and success levels grow. That gives us both a feeling of value and achievement. “To establish true excellence for our clients, Futurelink Accountancy Services takes a proactive approach to client relationships, including ensuring clients are always kept up to date on events ongoing within the firm and the industry thanks to a monthly newsletter. Sister companies enable access to factoring, a tax enquiry service, contractor payroll services, serviced offices, training facilities and conference suites. All of which, gives us an edge over the industry competition.” Ultimately, Futurelink Accountancy Services is an ambitious company that is always looking to grow and look after its clients and staff. The team attends seminars and webinars on a range of subjects including demystifying Making Tax Digital (“MTD”) and IFRS updates, helping them stay ahead of any developments within the industry. These are all aspects which will stand the Company in good stead as it looks to further its successes in the rest of 2017 and beyond.

Acquisition International - M&A Awards 2017 7


Best Banking & Finance Law Firm – Romania Contact: Bruno Leroy, Andreea Toma Contact Email:; Address: Strada Maior Gh. Sontu nr. 10-12, sector 1, Bucuresti, 011448, Romania Phone: 0040 21 223 03 10 Web Address:

Leroy şi Asociaţii With almost 20 years of experience in the market, Leroyşşi Asociaţii is one of Romania’s leading and fastest growing independent law firms. We invited Bruno Leroy and Andreea Toma to talk us through the services the firm offers.

Leroyşşi Asociaţii has become one of the major organizations across a number of practice areas, as has been demonstrated through its involvement in some of the largest national and multi-jurisdictional deals and projects, focusing on both high value transactions and day to day legal advice. Bruno outlines how the firm plans to achieve its mission. “At Leroy şi Asociaţii, our reputation is our most valuable asset. We build on this every day and have been doing so for almost two decades. We strive to grow our business with the same professionalism and integrity we employ when we are advising our clients in successful transactions.”

“At Leroy şi Asociaţii, our reputation is our most valuable asset. We build on this every day and have been doing so for almost two decades.” “We see ourselves as pioneers, especially in the financing and capital markets sector. We have been advising prominent clients (leading banks and international financial institutions) in sophisticated cases, involving highly regulated sectors and on high profile financings and capital markets related matters,” added Andreea Toma, Partner and head of Banking, Finance and Capital Markets practice at Leroy şi Asociaţii.

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Within the wider finance industry, how a practice implements its approach to client service is vital to attracting the best business and clients. Bruno discusses how the firm ensures that clients receive the best support and advice. “Possessing a wealth of experience, we are a mature law firm with extensive expertise in a wide range of business areas. Therefore, we strive to deliver excellence in our approach to our client service. Our team is very responsive to the needs of our clients, ensuring the best support and outcome for every project by being proactive, innovative and forward thinking.” Ultimately, Bruno and Andreea explain what developments they foresee in the industry and how the firm will adapt around these potential problems, particularly Brexit. “When considering trade and investment, one of the most pressing issues is Brexit. The current lack of visibility will be of concern, particularly for British companies which invested in Europe, and for countries and companies reliant on British investment. There are various repercussions and potential risks that are being addressed at a European level, changes that will impact all business sectors. We see ourselves playing a major role in helping any companies, banks or financial institutions that might be affected by these changes.”


Best in R&D Tax Credits 2017 Contact Email: Address: Judges Court, The Old Courthouse, St Peters Churchyard, Derby, DE1 1NN, UK Phone: 01332 477 070 Website:

randd uk limited Based in Derby, randd uk specialise in claiming R&D tax credits for businesses across the UK. We profiled the firm to further explore the secrets behind its success. Since 2008, the company has worked with clients from a range of sectors as qualifying research and development activities can be found in any industry. For example, engineering, technology and science industries commonly undertake R&D work on a regular basis but any company can claim for: an advance that overcomes existing uncertainties; improvements to strengthen efficiency or meet new legislation requirements; a breakthrough that is not currently achievable or available. So what are R&D tax credits? Essentially R&D tax credits are cash rewards for businesses who undergo work to innovate in any sector. The R&D Tax Relief Scheme was introduced by the government in the year 2000 as a specific tax incentive to encourage UK companies to invest in research and development (R&D), allowing innovation to grow in the United Kingdom. With the service of randd uk, R&D tax credits are paid out by HMRC to UK companies that are working on ‘eligible R&D investment activities’. The scheme is available for both SMEs and large companies which are determined by size, turnover and balance sheet value. Rewarding innovation is randd uk’s mission as the United Kingdom is a world leader in research and development, yet the company faces difficult challenges that cause many businesses to miss out on R&D tax credits! The biggest difficulty is convincing UK businesses that they can claim a large cash payment from HMRC without risk as randd uk do not charge any up-front costs, expenses or accountancy / administration fees; only a small percentage is deducted once a successful claim has been approved. Overcoming this scepticism is known as the randd uk REALITY CHEQUE, where a new client suddenly realises they have a successful R&D tax claim. Many are unaware of the scheme or lack the knowledge of recognising qualifying R&D activities; even a large proportion of accountants have limited knowledge in this area. randd uk have a qualified team of R&D tax credit specialists who can instantly recognise an eligible claim and have experience of dealing directly with HMRC to achieve the maximum pay out for their clients. Like many other companies in the UK, randd uk face a degree of uncertainty with Brexit as the funding for the R&D Tax Relief Scheme historically came from the European Union. Having said this, politicians across all the major parties recognise the importance of research and development in their manifestoes. The future looks bright for

Great Britain as the country push for creation and innovation, becoming industry leaders for research and development. With 100% success rate of all claims submitted, randd uk pride themselves on excellent customer service as the majority of clients are secured through referrals and accountant recommendations. randd uk have highly experienced R&D tax consultants located across the country who have senior industry-specific knowledge covering a wide range of sectors. The team’s success is matched by randd uk’s impressive financial figures with an average first claim of over £55,000 for new clients and a total of over £65 million claimed back in R&D tax credits to date. randd uk is a friendly, close knit team with excellent communication skills which are strengthened through regular social events and team building GRANDD DAYS OUT. As a team, randd uk work together throughout the process of claiming R&D tax credits on behalf of a client, from crunching numbers and writing reports to communicating with HMRC and arranging payments. The firm’s excellent customer service is noticed by clients. The company’s success has enabled rapid expansion with new talents employed in marketing, administration and R&D management departments. randd uk have also invested in Trainees through practical work experience and studying to become fully chartered accountants and accredited R&D Tax Consultants. Further expanding the company, randd uk are attending various events in the upcoming months such as the SME 2017. Held at the Birmingham NEC on the 3rd & 4th October 2017, randd uk will be exhibiting on stand E8 and Phil Tooley, a randd uk R&D Tax Consultant, will be speaking about how to grow small & medium enterprises with R&D tax credits in the Finance Theatre on day 2 (4th Oct) at 10-11am. The company is returning to the NEC on the 1st & 2nd of November for the Advanced Engineering show (stand O36) and Phil Tooley is presenting at the Food & Drink NPD Innovation Summit on the 7th November 2017 in the Ricoh Arena, Coventry. Eager to spread ‘reality cheques’ to as many UK businesses as possible, randd uk are preparing to meet potential new clients and are looking forward to hearing about company research and development activities.

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Best Independent Financial Advisers - Scotland

Contact: Phil Anderson Contact Email: admin@philandersonfinancial. Address: 8 Bridge Street, Ellon, Scotland, AB41 9AA, UK Phone: 01358 268166 Facebook: philandersonfinancial Website: www.

Phil Anderson Financial Services Phil Anderson Financial Services was set up by Phil Anderson with the vision to be the number one financial advisory firm in the North and North East of Scotland. We profiled the firm and spoke to Phil Anderson to find out more about it and what makes it so successful. Phil Anderson Financial Services are independent financial advisers offering advice on retirement planning, investments and mortgages. Since October 2011, Phil Anderson Financial Services has increased in size, both in terms of employees and workplaces, now possessing offices in Aberdeen, Ellon and Caithness. The firm currently has over £50,000,000 funds under management and in the last year it has arranged over 250 mortgages. It offers advice mainly to individuals, however, staff can also help businesses with financial planning. Over the last couple of years, the firm has been active in the employee benefits and workplace pension sectors. It looks to provide world-class financial advice to clients that is affordable and carried out in a friendly, reliable manner that exceeds the client’s expectations. The company looks to provide consistent expert advice through its professional team. Phil Anderson Financial Services has four culture statements which help it to become the success it has today. Phil outlines them for us, detailing how each statement highlights that the company always puts the client first, providing the best quality service it can. “Focusing on integrity, it is our guiding principle. We stand behind what we say we will do for our clients, our stakeholders and our people. The culture also breeds honesty, whether it is being honest in argument, honest with advice, honest with our staff, honest with our suppliers – and above all, honest with our clients, we place honesty highly in our company culture. “There is also a firm focus on customer service, as we continuously ask our clients what they want and how we are doing. We must know our customers intimately; so well that we can anticipate and assist with their financial requirements. A strong relationship with our clients guarantees their satisfaction. We continually search out ways to exceed our clients expectations. If we do not meet their needs someone else will. “Looking to always be innovative and stay ahead of developments, staff are constantly honing their skills and expanding their knowledge. Skills and knowledge become outdated quickly in the financial world. We must constantly develop our knowledge around all financial services. Our company believes training our team is the key to success for both the business and clients.” Always looking to stay ahead of the game, the company is developing its online and robo advice offering. It is already ahead of many other financial

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advisory firms with regard to the use of social media. Its use of social media and flexible appointment times by their advisers set them apart from their competition. The business is highly regarded for its customer service as recent testimonials can confirm. When Phil started the business he worked from his kitchen. In a short period of time, it has grown rapidly, with the turnover increasing to to almost £700,000 per annum and the business now runs from its head office in Ellon, Aberdeenshire. The head office is located on the main street in the town and occupies three floors. Plans are in place to open further offices in Peterhead and Fraserburgh in the near future. Regarding its recent performance in all aspects of the company, it has been so exceptional that the firm plans on taking its staff to New York in December for its annual Christmas night out. Phil comments on why he believes looking after his clients is a key factor in contributing the company’s success. “Essentially, I am a great believer of the fact that if you look after your staff they will in turn look after your clients. We have a great team in place and they deserve a reward after the efforts they have put in over the last year. With an assortment of recent achievements and success, it has made me more determined to make Phil Anderson Financial Services a great place to work.” Rewarding clients and staff will almost certainly bring about good results and the firm is able to add to its already sterling reputation, thanks to its contributions locally, as well as globally. Phil Anderson Financial Services has been very active in the local community and have been rewarded for their work. Last December, the firm donated a trip to Lapland to help fund the Christmas Lights switch on event in Ellon and they have also supported local homeless charity Aberdeen Cyrenians. This highlights the growing contributions made by the company, and it is clear that there is a bright future ahead for Phil Anderson Financial Services.


Willis Towers Watson



Company: Willis Towers Watson Contact: Michael Grant Contact Email: Michael.Grant@ Address: 200 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10128 Phone: 001 212 915 8430

Company: SmartDebit Address: Windlesham Court, 51 Guildford Road, Bagshot, Surrey, GU19 5NG, UK Contact Email: Website: Phone: 01276 851800

Best Direct Debit Bureau - UK

Most Influential M&A Advisor 2017 - New York


Willis Towers Watson

SmartDebit are the UK’s leading Direct Debit service provider, with over 19 years’ experience in payment solutions for companies and organisations of all sizes. We spoke to SmartDebit to find out more.

Willis Towers Watson (“WTW”) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. Michael Grant, one of the senior leaders of the firm’s Global M&A practice, tells us about his team’s role in the firm’s success.

Established in 1998, SmartDebit provide timely and efficient payment processing for utilities, insurers, IT providers, schools and colleges, charities and a range of other subscription businesses. “Here at SmartDebit, we have the expertise to make it easy for any UK organisation to access advanced payment systems and significantly improve their cash flow. Different businesses and organisations, from small to large, require recurring payments, which contribute to more accurate forecasting, and enable them to run their operations smoothly. Every year, we process billions in customer payments accurately and efficiently, making the complex process of Direct Debit as straightforward as it should be. “Fundamentally, our objective is to become the UK’s leading recurring payments solution for medium and large enterprises. We deliver custom solutions that drive value for customers, in addition to nurturing a network of partners that extends the company’s services to meet our customers’ growing requirements.” Looking to the future, they conclude by highlighting how SmartDebit will continue to grow and build upon its current achievements.

With roots dating to 1828, WTW has 39,000 employees in more than 120 territories around the world. The firm designs and delivers solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Michael discusses his global team and the broad range of services it offers.

in 2018, the financial services industry is facing challenges bigger than ever before. These are heralding our entrance to the “customer age” where consumers can easily switch service providers and take full control of their personal data. That is why it has never been more important to offer the highest standard of customer service.

“We are aware of the changing consumer and financial landscape. With this in mind, we achieved customer excellence and streamlined an omnichannel service with live chat, social media along with mobile responsive designs of SmartDebit products. This is an exciting and inspiring time to run any business, “With major regulations, such as and we are thrilled for the many GDPR and PSD2, to be implemented opportunities this will bring.”

the world. This global platform in a flat organizational structure gives him the ability to deploy resources swiftly in a transactional environment in an effort to overcome obstacles and accurately determine and mitigate the effects of insurancerelated issues on the enterprise value of potential investments. In his concluding comments, Michael discusses how far the firm has come “The WTW Global M&A Practice is a over recent years and how it will dedicated team exclusively focused continue to grow and prosper over on servicing the needs of private the months and years ahead. equity firms and other alternative investment managers and providing “Over the past fifteen years, the cutting-edge M&A tools and advisory WTW Global M&A Practice has services. Our value proposition is invested significantly to expand simple – we provide a seamless our global capabilities in delivering products and global team and a single point results-oriented of access to the mission-critical services to our alternative investment expertise, services and intellectual manager clients. We have over 200 capital required to execute on all dedicated professionals globally with aspects of an alternative investment a combined history of supporting manager’s business. This includes more than 10,000 investment risk management consulting, deal transactions. As a result, we are diligence advisory, insurance and one of the most active brokers in employee benefits brokerage the alternative investment manager marketing and execution, structured space – we represent over 500 firms transactional insurance solutions, in the U.S. and over 750 worldwide, and post-investment-close account and manage the risk of over 4,000 management services for both portfolio companies, and moving the managers and their portfolio forward we aim to grow even further and build upon our continued companies/assets.” success.” As a practice leader, Michael effectively delivers a global service model to his clients that can respond to transactional issues anywhere in

Acquisition International - M&A Awards 2017 11


Best Book-Keeping & Tax Advisory - UK

Company: Finance Equation Ltd Contact: Aadil Butt Contact Email: Address: 334 Ley Street, Ilford, IG1 4AF, UK. (Satellite offices and meeting rooms in Canary Wharf and Bishopsgate) Phone: 020 3086 7472 Website:

The Finance Equation Ltd

The Finance Equation Ltd is a modern and forward looking, Chartered Certified Accountants practice. Aadil Butt gives us a breakdown of the services of the company, as well as discussing the firm’s ongoing success. The Finance Equation uses cloud accounting platforms such as QuickBooks, Sage and Xero, and this virtual style of working helps the company to be a responsive firm, working from anywhere in the world with a laptop and internet connection. Aadil comments on how the virtual style benefits the company. “Over 80% of our client work is done virtually, a number of our clients we have never meet in person. We work with start-ups, owner managed businesses, small to medium corporates, property investors and developers. As well as working with a Capital investment firm, we evaluate their investment deals. “For deals in which they invest we set up corporate and financial governance structures, act as finance directors ensuring that their investments are profitable and money is spent on activities that create sales growth. We are not the traditional bean counters, we have a commercial approach to our clients’ problems and growth. Our service offering revolves around three core elements, including Cloud accounting, in which our premium service includes management accounts, budgeting and cash flow forecasting. Secondly, Tax advisory is designed to ensure that business owners keep more of the money they earn. We use every legal option available to reduce tax and increase ROI. Lastly, Commercial finance, is designed to bolster working capital as well as facilitate growth plans. We also provide compliance services for those that need it.”

“We assist with implementation of growth strategies and ensure that investments provide healthy cash flows and ROI. The success of these deals ultimately grows our reputation in the market place.” Looking to succeed and achieve its mission of being one of the leaders in the industry, Aadil provides an insight into what steps the Finance Equation will take in order to achieve its mission. Demanding to be the best possible option for clients, Aadil talks about putting the client first, ensuring that it has structures in place which enable to client to maximise its business.

12 Acquisition International - International Finance Awards 2017

“Aiming to be the best, our mission is to be the go to accountants and tax advisors for entrepreneurs and business people, we are starting this mission in the London area and plan to take it throughout England and beyond. Our focus in doing this is to solve client issues. These issues may be simply compliance related, but for the most part we help clients with their growth plans by creating appropriate financial and management accounting structure in a business. These structures assist clients to manage and control, money, assets, profitability and tax expenses.” Following on from its mission of making clients happy, Aadil discusses the company’s approach to client service, ensuring that they receive the best possible service. Although not meeting clients on a regular basis, the company is constantly talking to the client and keeping them updated with any developments. “When working with clients, both new and exsisting our approach in many respects is simple; we spend a lot of time listening to our clients, we set expectations and do our best to manage them effectively. The team look to create trust and long term relationships, and staff give our clients options with recommendations. If we fall short in our delivery and execution we always communicate and aim to provide remedies, thankfully this has not happened so far. The fact that we have never been refused a testimonial is a positive sign.” Looking ahead, Aadil comments on what the future holds for the business, and what upcoming developments there are for the Finance Equation. Developing key relationships is an important part of the success of the company, along with the successful deals and results the firm produces, all of which help grow the Finance Equation’s reputation within the industry. “Moving forward, the future looks great for the Finance Equation Ltd, we are developing some key relationships, in particular our relationship with a Capital investment firm which enables us to acquire equity stakes in invested businesses as well as charge fees for a finance director service. Importantly this type of work is aligned to our strengths of being commercial and entrepreneurial. We assist with implementation of growth strategies and ensure that investments provide healthy cash flows and ROI. The success of these deals ultimately grows our reputation in the market place.”


Best Private Client Services Company - UK

Company: Petrus Financial Services Ltd Contact: Georgina Warwick Contact Email: georgina. Address: Gainsborough House, 59-60 Thames Street, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 1TX, UK Phone: 07837 938 442 Website:

Petrus Financial Services Ltd Petrus Financial Services Ltd provide objective and independent financial advice to individuals, families, trustees and charities, tailored to meet client’s specific needs. We invited Georgina Warwick to tell us more about the firm and the secrets behind its success.

Established in 2005, Petrus works in partnership with other trusted professionals, supporting clients to build their wealth, protect it, and pass it on to future generations. Georgina discusses how the firm works to offer clients a unique service tailored to meet their individual needs.

“No matter what financial concern or complexity, our team of specialist advisers can provide advice and guidance to clients across their entire affairs.” “As a Chartered Financial Planning firm, here at Petrus we continually strive to enhance our professionalism and to deliver the best possible service to our clients. To this end, we are committed to developing our skills and knowledge within the framework of the ever changing regulatory, legislative and social world in which we operate. Key to this is the strategic plan we have embedded with our advisers and back office staff, with each individual in the company having a structured development plan that together form the ongoing vision and direction of Petrus Financial as a whole. “No matter what financial concern or complexity, our

team of specialist advisers can provide advice and guidance to clients across their entire affairs. We call it ‘Solid Advice. Fluid Thinking’. Typically, we work with private clients with more than £250,000 investible wealth who want guidance through the maze of financial paths that are now open to them to make sure they are making the right decisions to achieve their goals.” Moving forward, Petrus is aiming to build upon its current success and provide its clients with the solutions they need, as Georgina concludes. “We have now reached a stage within the business where, as it has in many other financial planning firms, the question of succession planning has arisen. Over the next 12 months we aim to develop a 5 to 7-year plan which will ensure our clients continue to be looked after properly in the long term. We have completed our original 5-year business development project plan and we are proud of successful, upscalable, cost efficient and highly client-focused financial planning business that we have developed. Now, we are looking to secure the uninterrupted delivery of financial planning to our clients over their lifetimes.”

Acquisition International - International Finance Awards 2017 13

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