Catalyst merges with Sionic Advisors

Market-leading financial services firms set to create global specialist consultancy

Today Catalyst is delighted to announce our merger with global financial services specialists Sionic Advisors. The deal is set to create one of the world’s largest and fastest growing specialist consulting firms, operating with a fully internationalised platform for our combined global client base. Following the merger, our Group will have a combined revenue of over $60M and a staff base of more than 300 professionals based in a dozen locations across North America, Europe and Asia.

Picture of Sionic Co-Founder and Group CEO, Craig Sher (left) with Catalyst Group CEO, Andrew Middleton (right)

Sionic Co-Founder and Group CEO, Craig Sher (left) with Catalyst Group CEO, Andrew Middleton (right)

This merger follows Catalyst’s acquisition of asset and wealth management specialists Knadel in February 2018, backed by investment from our investment partners, mid-market private equity firm Livingbridge in 2017.

  • Catalyst specialises in regulatory-driven change, organisational improvement and talent development programmes for global financial markets firms.
  • Sionic Advisors are experts in change, optimisation and strategic initiatives to a wide range of financial services institutions from bases in eight countries around the globe.

The merged business now plans to accelerate its growth of ‘specialism at scale’ in response to client demand. Global spend on financial services consulting in 2018 was $38bn, up from $17bn in 2008, with an 8 – 10% compound annual growth rate. Over 70% of that spend relates to technology, operations, risk and regulatory compliance and change in banking, capital markets and insurance in North America, Europe and Asia: exactly the combined firm’s key areas of expertise.

Livingbridge’s US team, based out of their Boston office, worked alongside Catalyst management to help develop their US acquisition strategy. The cross-border team has helped management to execute the merger, advising on transaction considerations from both sides of the Atlantic and will continue to support as the two businesses integrate over the coming months.

Catalyst Group CEO Andrew Middleton comments “This is a transformational merger that will create a world-leading specialist firm. Sionic has highly regarded expertise in our core banking market, enabling us to scale our delivery of complex assignments for clients worldwide, and a lead position in the US and Canada. Catalyst has a lead position in London and both offshore and nearshore offices, along with specialist asset and wealth management expertise, an international track record in people, talent and change and a global track record of developing financial markets infrastructure for clearing houses and exchanges.”

Sionic Co-Founder and Group CEO Craig Sher says “This is a perfect match. We’re known as experts in our field and as fast-growth disruptors of outdated models of consultancy.  Like Catalyst, we deliver measurable value and best in class change services in control and governance, regulatory change, operations, risk, finance and technology. We’re looking forward to working together to expand our services and reach to create an even bigger and better firm for our clients, staff and investors alike.”

Livingbridge Partner Pete Clarke adds “Both firms are experts in creating value for clients in a highly demanding sector.  We are delighted to support the combined international ambitions of Catalyst and Sionic, including from our US operations located near the Sionic New York HQ. This is just the beginning for the group, which will continue to grow rapidly and target further strategic acquisitions.”

Read this story in CityAM

See more on Sionic Advisors’ website

Notes to Editors

  • Catalyst Development Ltd Founded in 1994, Catalyst specialises in business, technology, regulation, operations, talent and change for banks, financial markets infrastructure firms, asset and wealth managers. Catalyst employs c 160 people  and is headquartered in the City of London with an offshore base in Jersey, a nearshore base in Lithuania and a longstanding presence in Tokyo. Its staff work worldwide, particularly in India, China and Europe. Catalyst holds The Queen’s Award for Enterprise and is listed as one of the Financial Times – UK’s Leading Management Consultants 2019.  Since the firm’s foundation in 1994, Catalyst has worked with more than 70 clients in over 30 financial centres worldwide, including nine out of the world’s top 12 investment banks, and has mentored more than 250 of the most senior figures in financial markets.
  • Sionic Advisors Founded in 2014, Sionic specialises in Financial Crime & Compliance, Client Lifecycle Management, Regulatory & Compliance Control, Finance & Operations Transformation, Enterprise Risk Management, Market & Credit Risk and Strategic Technology.  Sionic currently employs c 160 people with offices in New York, Toronto, London, Madrid, Zurich, Singapore, Stockholm, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. Sionic also have technology alliances with several market-leading partners.
  • Catalyst and Sionic Since 2018 Catalyst and Sionic have been working together on a range of projects including cultural and behavioural change in regulatory compliance for clients in mainland Europe.
  • Livingbridge is a mid-market private equity firm with offices in the UK, the US and Australia, investing in fast growing companies valued up to £200m. Our team have been backing growing businesses together for twenty years.  We’ve done it over a hundred times, turning many into household names both at home and abroad. We get growth. We understand the people behind growing companies in consumer markets; healthcare and education; technology, media and telecommunications; financial services and business services, and help them achieve what’s right for them and their business.

Advisers to the deal

You can also read the story here:

About the author

Sue Primmer

Director of marketing and communications

Communications is a profession that never stands still. For me, it’s about getting to the heart of the business, the people, the story.