Fast-expanding multi-office law firm HCB has joined forces with a firm of accountants in a bid to provide “seamless advice through joined-up professional services”.
HCB chief executive Mike Gahan has taken a 51% stake in Hatch, a practice based in Stratford-upon-Avon specialising in corporate finance. It will be renamed HCB Hatch Accountants.
Hatch has 28 staff – 26 of whom are accountants – and a turnover of £1.5m; HCB, which has grown rapidly through multiple mergers and office openings in recent years, has 210 people across 15 locations, mainly in the midlands and Lancashire.
As Mr Gahan personally has the stake, no regulatory issues arise from the legal side of the group, although he told Legal Futures that an alternative business structure application was a possibility for the future.
Mr Gahan said joining forces with Hatch “seemed an appropriate move for HCB”.
He explained: “Seamless advice through joined-up professional services can only be beneficial and cost-effective to both businesses and private individuals…
“At the core of both firms is a belief that customer service is paramount and so many legal matters are wrapped up with financial affairs that it make sense to bring together two companies operating with experts in those fields.
“Our clients can now receive the financial and legal advice they need under one umbrella instead of having to deal with two separate sources.
“Hatch operates in the same way as HCB in that we believe in a ‘top heavy’ structure of city-trained professionals able to provide expert advice on all aspects of corporate and private legal matters.”
Mr Gahan said they were looking to recruit “entrepreneurial chartered accountants into all of our geographical locations where we can”.
He also indicated that other professional services will join the mix in time: “The professional services market is changing, and where we can add value to clients, we will offer additional services in due course.”
Another office in the midlands and one in the south of England are also due to be announced shortly, with Mr Gahan saying that “more acquisitions will follow” Hatch.
He said HCB’s rapid growth was not about building turnover, but having the “depth and breadth to ensure you are able to provide expert advice locally… It’s about building a profitable and sustainable business that is client-centric”.
Nick Warden, senior partner at Hatch, said: “We operate with many more professionally qualified, experienced people than the average practice and that means that our clients get to talk to the people who will be dealing with their affairs.
“HCB has a similar structure which means that the main contact is qualified and is the person who does the work.
“It makes sense for two firms of a comparable culture to work together to offer clients a wide range of skills covering two interwoven professional sectors.”