As we all know, the financial services industry has been consolidating for many years. In the more than 38 years I have been working with financial institutions, there has never been a year when there were more institutions one year than there were in the previous year. We have seen the pace of consolidation accelerate recently due to a variety of factors, including fatigue, regulatory pressure, the cost of compliance, lowered returns, and what I call the “community bank phenomenon” – lack of shareholder liquidity, connection to the bank, and connection to the communities in which the banks operate. Recent transaction pricing has also helped accelerate the process.
Interestingly, there has also been significant consolidation in the professional services industry. When we elected a new managing partner at Wipfli in June, I reflected on the 13 years of our former managing partner’s tenure and identified that 29 firms joined Wipfli through M&A during that timeframe. On October 1, Wipfli acquired an accounting and consulting firm with a significant national financial services practice, Atlanta-based Porter Keadle Moore, LLC. In addition to adding an exceptional group of professionals who are similar to our professionals, this transaction gives Wipfli a significant presence in the southeastern United States and adds a large number of financial institutions and financial services clients to the firm’s client list. It also adds breadth and depth of resources and experience in the financial services industry. It is exciting to say that we are now one of the leading service providers to financial institutions in the country!
Going forward, the depth of our combined experience will continue to add value to your organization and you will continue to work with a wide range of professionals, including technology/IT, compliance, internal audit and c-suite level strategy, who have first-hand experience on your side of the desk. If you need guidance from professionals in a professional services firm who have experienced the challenges you are faced with first-hand, contact your Wipfli relationship executive.