Sionic Advisors merges with UK counterpart Catalyst Development

09 April 2019 3 min. read

NYC-based financial services specialist consultancy Sionic Advisors has merged with London-based Catalyst Development, a specialist financial markets consulting firm. The deal, backed by private equity firm Livingbridge, will see Catalyst grow to more than 300 professionals across a dozen locations in North America, Europe, and Asia, with a combined revenue of more than $60 million. 

Demand for digital transformation and regulatory and compliance services is currently booming in the financial services sector. Financial consulting services spending has swelled globally from $17 billion in 2008 to $38 billion in 2018, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8-10%. More than 70% of spending was on technology, operations, and risk and regulatory compliance and change services in North America, Europe, and Asia – the focus areas of Sionic Advisors.

Founded in 2014, the consultancy specializes in financial crime, regulatory and compliance, finance and operations transformation, risk management, and strategic technology. Sionic currently employs approximately 160 people in offices across New York, Toronto, London, Madrid, Zurich, Singapore, Stockholm, Mumbai, Chennai, and Bangalore.

Sionic Advisors merges with UK counterpart Catalyst DevelopmentSionic will merge with Catalyst, a similarly sized consulting firm with similar competencies. Founded in 1994, Catalyst delivers strategy, operations, regulatory, technology, and change consulting services to financial services firms. The consultancy has approximately 160 employees across offices in London, Jersey, and Vilnius, Lithuania. Over the past 25 years, Catalyst has worked with more than 70 clients in more than 30 financial centers worldwide.

The deal, which creates a geographically broad, large-scale financial services consulting specialist, was backed by UK-based private equity firm Livingbridge, which invests in fast-growing firms valued up to $250 million. Livingbridge previously invested in Catalyst in 2017, and then backed the consultancy’s acquisition of wealth management specialist Knadel in February 2018.

Livingbridge’s US team worked with Catalyst management to develop the firm’s US acquisition strategy, while supporting the merger execution. Catalyst’s private equity partner expects the consultancy to target further strategic acquisitions in the future to meet demand in the fast-growing market.

“This is a transformational merger that will create a world-leading specialist firm,” Andrew Middleton, Catalyst Group CEO, said. “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,” Middleton said. 

“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," Craig Sher, Sionic cofounder and Group CEO, added.