Back in Glasgow
Smith & Williamson was founded in Glasgow in 1881 by David Johnstone Smith and Andrew Williamson; its first London office opened in 1893. Since then, Smith & Williamson has uniquely combined an independent firm of chartered accountants with an investment management and private banking house. Particularly influential in expanding the company’s size and reputation were two fairly recent mergers. In 2002, the firm merged with NCL (Securities) Limited, folding in Cunningham Coates Stockbrokers, one of Northern Ireland's oldest and leading financial institutions. In 2005, it merged with Solomon Hare, one of the longest-established independent accounting and financial advisory firms in the UK.
Smith & Williamson Limited is a UK member of Nexia International. A global network of independent accounting and consulting firms, Nexia has about 620 offices in 97 countries. Its corporate finance practice belongs to M&A International Inc., an independent alliance of specialist merger and acquisition firms with over 300 professionals in 41 firms worldwide.
They have the background
The firm offers accounting, investment management and financial advisory services to private clients, professional practices, mid-large corporate and nonprofit organizations. Many of its directors have international expertise in their disciplines. This, combined with connections to other accounting, tax, investment management and banking specialists around the world, enables Smith & Williamson to offer its clients international advice.
The range of financial services Smith & Williamson offers is equally divided between tax and business services and investment management. At last count, Smith & Williamson Investment Management was managing and advising around £8.3 billion of client assets (as of April 2009). The sector specialties the firm advises on include AIM-listed companies, food and agriculture, professional practices, landed estates, registered providers of social housing, property, pension schemes, entrepreneurs, media, financial services and market groups, and sustainable technologies.
Reopening in Scotland, opening in Bristol and Birmingham
Up in Glasgow, the firm’s profile is swelling. In September 2008, the Glasgow-based office of Smith & Williamson Investment Management, its Glasgow-based fund management house, saw its staff numbers jump from 35 to 90 within a couple of months. Although Smith & Williamson was founded in Glasgow, its offices there were closed for a period, reopening in 2005. To accommodate the increased staff, the company also recently moved to a new office in the city’s financial district. The new digs will also include part of the firm's financial settlement operations team, which offers support across the entire fund management house.
Previously, in November 2007, the firm opened a Bristol investment management business from its office there. Its 15-member team is now one of the largest investment teams in the South West. With the opening of its latest office, the firm offers bespoke investment management and advice from five offices in addition to London. These two moves helped to boost Smith & Williamson’s reported fee growth for fiscal 2008, up 13 per cent, to £170.3 million. It posted a profit before tax of £31.2 million during the period, an increase of 23 per cent over the same period last year.
Smith & Williamson also opened an office in Birmingham in the autumn of 2008. The office includes over 20 professionals who cover investment management, personal finance planning and forensic services.
Despite speculation that the firm would float in 2007 and 2008, this hasn’t yet come to pass. No new dates have been announced to implement this bold move.
London EC2R 6AY
Phone: 44 (0) 20 7131 4000
Employer Type: Private
Chairman: Gareth Pearce
2009 Employees (All Locations): 1,500
London, United Kingdom