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The Rise and Fall of RSM Tenon

22 August 2013

Amazing isn't it, the seventh largest accountancy and insolvency practice in the UK goes bust, one year, or so, on from finding a massive hole in its published accounts, and there is virtually no fuss?

The bank sweeps away up to £80m (we will never know how much of that debt it recovered), the same bank (Lloyds) then funds Baker Tilly's purchase from pre pack administration of the assets, namely the subsidiary trading companies.

One could say that this is a sign that the bank feels it was a good opportunity to recover some of its exposure, now that growth is picking up in the economy. Perhaps a more cynical observation may be that it is merely rolling over the debt and hoping Baker Tilly management is better than the clowns who led to the collapse of this £200m accountancy firm?

Either way, how many clients will desert the former RSM Tenon? How many will have to go for conflict reasons? How many will stay and accept the new "Baker Tilly Tenon"? Finally, how many new clients will be attracted to this newly enlarged entity?

Will the RSM Tenon staff all be employed? How many duplicated offices will close? Don't tell me they will keep all offices and all employees?

Surely many redundancies on areas of overlap will have to follow? Many have seen the writing on the wall and jumped ship including 7 former midlands corporate finance partners to Mazaars. Watch for more defections and other firms picking up teams.

Is this the end of the consolidator firm?  There is only one such firm left quoted on the (AIM) stock market; Begbies Traynor, which is mainly an insolvency and turnaround firm, and its sales are declining overall.

Or will the accountancy world see more "solvent" mergers to end up with larger and larger monolithic firms?

Author Keith Steven