Wealth and investment advisory firm Isio has moved to buy the UK pensions business of Big Four firm Deloitte. Isio was itself spun off from a Big Four firm, having gained independence from KPMG in early 2020.
Isio started life as a larger-than-most independent company, with more than 1,000 clients, from mid-sized companies to FTSE 100s. However, in the three years since he split from KPMG with the backing of Exponent, he has sought to quickly build on this early momentum.
The Isio team now consists of more than 800 people across nine regional centres, including well-known names such as Fujitsu, Serco and Scottish Leather Group among its growing portfolio. This has been accelerated by acquisitions, with deals including the purchase of Premier Pensions Management – bought to help Isiou provide a wider range of pension and financial advisory services to businesses and individuals – in 2021.
As it looks set to accelerate its growth, Isio kicked off 2023 by announcing its intention to acquire Deloitte’s UK pensions business. Having signed an agreement to acquire the Deloitte Total Reward and Benefits (DTRB) team, Isio is expected to complete the move for an undisclosed fee later in the spring – subject to FCA regulatory approval.
Andrew Coles, CEO of Isio Group Limited, commented: “Deloitte’s pensions business in the UK has been a great success to date and the combination of the two businesses will create exciting opportunities for our people, our clients and members of their pension schemes. I look forward to welcoming the DTRB team to an environment that provides so many opportunities for career development and advancement.”
The acquisition and the addition of DTRB’s 200-strong workforce to the existing Isio team will create one of the UK’s largest pensions advisory firms upon completion. The enlarged company will have annual revenues of around £140m and 1,000 employees across its nine existing sites across the UK – including the new site in Belfast.
DTRB provides actuarial, pension administration and investment services to some of the largest organizations and pension schemes across the UK. His addition to Isio will provide the skills, proposition and services that Isio believes are required to be the “adviser of choice” to many UK pension schemes and their sponsors.
Lisa Stott, Tax and Legal Director, Deloitte UK, added: “DTRB is one of the UK’s most respected pensions advisory firms and our priority has always been to enable the team to diversify its business and expand into new areas. We are pleased that the contract will support the continued success of DTRB’s business over the long term, providing maximum opportunity for its growth and the development of its people. We wish the team every success.”
The move comes as the big four continue to evaluate the sale of a number of practices, which they fear will be affected by upcoming regulatory changes. In recent years, the overlap of auditing and consulting by EY, PwC, KPMG and Deloitte for their UK clients has come under scrutiny, with critics suggesting ‘conflicts of interest’ were behind some high-profile accounting blunders linked to the professional services giants .
Deloitte weighed its portfolio long before this sale of the pension part. The company was reported to have considered selling its restructuring arm in 2020, before later blocking the move. Meanwhile, EY has outlined plans to spin off its audit and advisory brands globally.