Grant Thornton Capital announces strategic acquisition

13 October 2011 Grant Thornton Capital

First Light Administration Services joins the Grant Thornton fold

· Merged business will contribute to Grant Thornton Capital being a substantial competitor in the employee benefit and financial advisory market
· This acquisition creates greater capability, particularly relating to employee benefits services
· Yet another strategic step in Grant Thornton South Africa’s growth plan

Grant Thornton Capital, one of the country’s leading independent financial advisory businesses for over 20 years and a subsidiary of Grant Thornton South Africa, has announced the total acquisition of First Light Administration Services (First Light), formerly a wholly owned subsidiary of Sekunjalo Investments, a JSE listed company.

First Light will integrate into Grant Thornton Capital’s employee benefits division, specifically into the retirement fund administration business.

“The acquisition of First Light sees Grant Thornton Capital being the administrators to over 80 000 member records,” says Gary Mockler, executive chairman of Grant Thornton Capital. “This accounts for over 300 participating employers with assets of some R6bn under management and administration.”

First Light, established 11 years ago, is a well-known retirement fund administrator providing services to listed and privately owned employers.

Bruce Knight, managing director of First Light, says: “We’re thrilled to join Grant Thornton Capital because both of our businesses share a mutual focus in the delivery of reliable, transparent financial advisory client service as a differentiating approach.”

With the increased capability in the retirement fund management division at Grant Thornton Capital, the business now offers expanded services and enhanced expertise to the benefit of all clients.

“The integration of First Light not only bolsters our employee benefits offering but it also brings value to our clients through our existing diversified financial services including consulting, private client wealth management and investment management,” adds Mockler.

Grant Thornton’s national staff numbers are approximately 900, which further cements Grant Thornton’s position as the fifth largest auditing firm in South Africa by fee income, with 2010 revenues over R400m (September 2010 International Accounting Bulletin Survey). Grant Thornton Capital’s staff complement is now some 90 employees.

In October last year, BDO Cape merged into Grant Thornton creating a formidable service offering in the Cape region. In addition, this year two Durban regional professional services firms Campbell Brown and AC&T merged with Grant Thornton in the KZN region.

“Grant Thornton continues to build critical mass and we are well on track in terms of the firm’s strategic growth plan to double revenues by 2015,” says Leonard Brehm, Grant Thornton SA’s national chairman. “We look forward to working with our new colleagues in order to offer our clients superior advisory services throughout their businesses.”

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