www.acquisition-international.com • Issue 8 2022 Edkey® Inc. : Transparency, Integrity, Communication, Kindness
2 Acquisition International - Issue 8 2022 From our Editor Welcome to the August edition of Acquisition International Magazine, bringing you the latest news, features, and success stories from businesses all over the world. Across the business landscape, there are innumerable businesses that are influencing – and therefore shaping – their industries. Some of them are changing the way we see the business realm, and others dare to dream in ways that we never thought were possible. It is this kind of determination and commitment to dreams that inspires us every day – we see those willing to make huge changes, keep ahead of the curve, and inspire those around them. Just by being true to themselves, their teams, and their vision, they find innovative ways to excel in their field. This issue sets out uncover and present businesses that are not only stepping into the light in this magazine, but they have been building themselves mountains of success that deserves to be recognised by the rest of the world. This is something that could have a huge impact on potentially new business owners and newcomers to their industries, alongside well-established businesspeople everywhere. We wish you a productive, prosperous, and excellent month ahead. We hope you find this issue exciting and informative – and we look forward to welcoming you back soon. Sofi Bajor - Editor Contents 4 News 6 Philanthropic Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 (USA): Mary D. Ahrens Beauty Forward, LLC. 7 Tax Consultancy of the Year - Athens Athens Financial Services PC 8 The New Solution for the Emerging Healthcare Industry TIPS SA 10 Most Creative Consultancy CFO (Latin America): Agustín Correa Wunderman Thompson 12 Most Client-Focused Accountant (ACT): Marianna Agostino Conscious Wealth Creation 13 Leading Corporate Finance Management Firm of the Year – Kent Chantler Kent Investments 14 ACustomer Centric Attitude Towards Cyber Security SecurityHQ No information contained on or in this website constitutes investment advice or an offer to invest or to provide management services and is subject to correction, completion and amendment without notice. Neither AI nor any of its associated entities are authorised to give financial advice of any nature nor are they regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Prior to making any investment, AI recommends that any prospective investor should consult with its own investment, accounting, legal and tax advisers to evaluate independently the risks, consequences and suitability of that investment. AI Global Media, Ltd. (AI) takes reasonable measures to ensure the quality of the information on this web site. However, AI will not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, correctness or completeness of any information that is available through this web site. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them. The information available through the website and our partner publications is for your general information and use and is not intended to address any particular finance or investment requirements. In particular, the information does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by us or any of our partner publications and is not intended to be relied upon by users in making or refraining from making any investment or financial decisions. Appropriate independent advice should be obtained before making any such decision. Any arrangement made between you and any third party named in the site is at your sole risk and responsibility. Editorial Team Sif Brookes, Senior Editor Sofi Bajor, Editor Daniel Long, Senior Writer Rebecca Scotland, Senior Writer Gabriel Muers, Writer Amelia Walker, Writer Dontae Jones, Writer Design Team Daniela Levinte, Graphic Designer Lauren Baldwin, Junior Graphic Designer 16 Transparency, Integrity, Communication, Kindness Edkey® Inc. 18 Best Independent Financial & Investment Planning Firm – East of England Tavistock Private Client 19 Best Interior Designer 2022 (California): Ariana Lovato & Client Service Excellence Award 2022 Honeycomb Home Design 20 Most Trusted Asset Management Company - Northern California Prosperity Financial Group 22 Comprehensive Global Background Screening Cisive 23 Most Innovative Laser Facials Businesswoman 2022: Sarah Pearson Skin Laundry 24 Best Corporate Gifts Businesswoman (New England): Alvania Lopez PeachBox Co. 25 Wedding Planner of the Year (Las Vegas): Brittany Griffor Symphony Weddings & Events 28 Moving Finance Forward T4Trade 29 Care by Name, Care by Nature Fame 24hour Care 30 Winners’ Listing
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4 Acquisition International - Issue 8 2022 News: from around the world First signs of increased M&A activity due to attractive valuations The second quarter was distinguished by a difficult macroeconomic environment and, particularly, by stubbornly high inflation. The broad market corrections that began earlier in the year continued. Biotech stocks, as measured by the Nasdaq Biotech Index, reported a loss of 9.8% in USD. There were some initial signs of a pickup in M&A activity in June, which helped the sector claw back some lost ground late in the quarter. This can be viewed as a sign that the sell-off in stock markets has gone too far and that the biotechnology sector is currently undervalued. BB Biotech ended the second quarter with a total return of -12.5% in CHF and -10.9% in EUR. The total return for the portfolio was -8.6% in CHF, -6.7% in EUR and -11.7% in USD. Consequently, the net loss for the second quarter of 2022 was CHF 233 mn compared to a net gain of CHF 129 mn for the same period in 2021. Despite the clearly risk-off sentiment in the broader investment community, the companies in BB Biotech’s portfolio reported many important R&D milestones, including late-stage clinical trial results. Macroeconomic topics remained center stage in the second quarter. The correction on the stock markets hit growth stocks the hardest and spilled over to broad indices such as the S&P 500, which had its worst first half year since 1970. The geopolitical and economic implications of the Russian invasion of Ukraine have become more obvious – especially for energy and food supply. The COVID-19 pandemic has flared up again. The novel sub-variants of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron, BA.4 and BA.5, are rapidly spreading worldwide and hospitalizations are increasing once more, although death rates are stable for now. The pandemic is far from over and researchers, healthcare systems, and government agencies need to remain highly vigilant. The MSCI World Health Care Index, which had been relatively stable during the first quarter, retreated in the second quarter. Despite glimpses of resilience in June, the total return for the quarter was negative (-7.1% in USD). The biotechnology sector as measured by the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index NBI posted a similar quarterly loss (-9.8% in USD). As witnessed on occasion in the past, biotechnology companies with marketed products and favorable pipeline updates held up better than others. IPO activity and capital raising transactions were almost non-existent in the biotech sector until a few M&A deals were announced in June, which led to a late-quarter upswing in sector performance. More transactions by large biopharma companies are anticipated, but these are more likely to be licensing deals rather than outright acquisitions. The corrections in biotech markets and the disadvantaged position of some biotech firms may enable more bargain hunting by private equity players as the markets recalibrate in 2022–2023. BB Biotech’s performance for the second quarter and first half of 2022 For the second quarter of 2022, BB Biotech shares’ total return was -12.5% in CHF and -10.9% in EUR. Alongside benchmarks, and with the slight appreciation of the USD versus the CHF and EUR, the total return for the portfolio in the second quarter of 2022 was -8.6% in CHF, -6.7% in EUR and -11.7% in USD. Consequently, the net loss for the second quarter of 2022 was CHF 233 mn compared to a net gain of CHF 129 mn for the same period in 2021. In the first half of 2022, the total return for BB Biotech shares including the CHF 3.85 dividend per share stood at -22.4% in CHF and -18.6% in EUR. The total return for the portfolio was -16.8% in CHF, -13.8% in EUR and -20.5% in USD. This resulted in a net loss of CHF 533 mn compared to a net gain of CHF 349 mn in the prior-year period. Investment level virtually unchanged At the end of the second quarter, the investment level was 113.2%, close to the level at the end of the first quarter and within the normal guidance range of 95%-115%. The liquidation of BB Biotech’s position in Radius Health following that company’s acquisition by private equity firms Gurnet Point Capital and Patient Square Capital in the third quarter will produce a cash inflow of approximately USD 90 mn on a pro forma basis. Second-quarter portfolio activity A new position was opened in June 2022. Celldex is a clinicalstage company developing treatments for inflammatory and allergic conditions and is an attractive addition to BB Biotech’s existing investments in the field of autoimmune disease treatment. BB Biotech’s position in Nektar Therapeutics was liquidated during the second quarter. Bempegaldesleukin (peg-IL2) in combination with Opdivo failed to achieve clinical benefit for unresectable or metastatic melanoma renal cell carcinoma or bladder cancer. Many portfolio companies reach new milestones Despite the challenging market environment, portfolio companies achieved many important milestones: for instance, Ionis and its partner AstraZeneca reported positive interimdata for theNEURO-TTRansform Phase III study of eplontersen, in patients with hereditary transthyretin mediated amyloid polyneuropathy (ATTR-PN). Regulatory approval by year-end 2022 is realistic. Argenx announced positive Phase III data for Vyvgart in patients with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). Vyvgart, a fragment of an IgG antibody, is already approved for patients with myasthenia gravis. Vertex and its partner Crispr Therapeutics, both current portfolio companies, presented additional data for their geneedited autologous cell therapy – exagamglogene autotemcel (exacel) – in patients with transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia or severe sickle cell disease. Moderna showed that its bivalent booster mRNA vaccine MRNA 1273.214 achieved potent neutralizing antibody responses against the new Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5. Besides these late-stage clinical trial results, many important earlier stage clinical results were reported in the second quarter. Among them were Zetomipzomib from Kezar in lupus nephritis; SAGE-718 from Sage Therapeutics in Alzheimer’s disease; and bepirovirsen from Ionis/GSK in chronic hepatitis B. These and other portfolio pipeline assets are expected to advance towards registration data in the coming quarters. BB Biotech remains focused on product launch metrics as a predictor of revenue and profits. Its investment specialists are closely monitoring Argenx’s global launch for Vyvgart in generalized myasthenia gravis, which has so far been ahead of Wall Street’s expectations. IntraCellular Therapies reported strong first quarter sales for Caplyta, which was approved for bipolar depression in late 2021. Moderna reported strong first-quarter sales of USD 6.1 bn for Spikevax, guided for lower second-quarter sales but maintained its projection of USD 21 bn (excluding US government orders for fall 2022 boosters) for the full year 2022. The dynamics of COVID-19 vaccine sales projections remain fluid given the potential emergence of new strains and a range of potential late 2022-2023 ordering patterns from most countries.
Acquisition International - Issue 8 2022 5 • Wealth Managers can now implement TrueLayer Payments for customers without any additional coding when using WealthOS to build their products. TrueLayer, Europe’s leading open banking platform, today announces its partnership with WealthOS, the innovative SaaS platform that accelerates digital adoption and innovation for wealth managers. Together we are bringing the benefits of instant bank payments - improved speed, customer experience and security, at a lower operational cost - to the account funding process. The higher value transactions in wealth management make account funding with card payments ineffective as they can be flagged by banks, resulting in delays, rejected payments and customer dissatisfaction. As a result, customers can miss critical deadlines such as end-of-tax-year allowances or the market opportunities they were trying to capture. Online bank transfers offer another method to fund accounts, but require customers to leave a wealth app, sign in to their banking portal and carry out the transfer — often frustratingly toggling back-and-forth between screens and devices. With this collaboration, WealthOS clients can embed TrueLayer’s instant, secure account-to-account payments within the funding journeys of their digital wealth products. Better still, the collaboration is part of WealthOS’ no code integrations marketplace, meaning WealthOS clients can access this seamless account funding capability without writing a single line of code. Payments powered by TrueLayer remove the need for customers to leave their wealth app to make payments. Instead, customers simply select the ‘Instant bank transfer’ option at the top of the payment screen and authenticate to confirm the payment. As well as improving the customer experience through smoother deposits, payments with TrueLayer provide numerous operational benefits. This includes lower processing fees compared to other deposit methods and realtime payment confirmation and settlement, providing wealth managers with the assurance that every transaction has been authorised and received into their customers’ account. Anton Padmasiri, Co-founder/CEO, as WealthOS explained: “Customer experience is the battleground upon which many wealth management firms are fighting to gain users. To capture the significant generational transfer of wealth and expansion of the industry over coming years, wealth managers need to be able to compete with seamless financial experiences that consumers have elsewhere in their lives. We are thrilled to be able to bring secure, seamless account funding to wealth management products through our partnership with TrueLayer.” TrueLayer andWealthOS partner to bring in-app payments to wealth management products Nick Tucker, Head of Financial Services at TrueLayer, commented: “Fast and secure account funding is an essential element of a great wealth management service. Customers are used to these experiences in their everyday lives, so why should the management of their money and long-term investing be any different? That’s why we’re excited by the possibilities that partnering with WealthOS will deliver by embedding our instant, secure payments into their platform and supporting wealth managers to deliver a truly digital experience.”
6 Acquisition International - Issue 8 2022 Philanthropic Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 (USA): Mary D. Ahrens ver the course of her storied career, Mary Ahrens has dedicated herself and her company to philanthropy, social change, and dedicated to corporate social responsibility. The Hair4Good brand has become the manifestation of this attitude, and has been recognized as a generous contributor to charitable organizations, parents, and kids alike with products featuring innovative, patented, and patent-pending styling tools and accessories that promise to improve a customers’ haircare experience. Their well designed products and sustainable technology was developed and rigorously managed by Ms. Ahrens and her dedicated team. Ms. Ahrens is a fashion-forward professional and 25-year veteran of the beauty industry and founder of Beauty Forward, LLC and the brand Hair4Good. Most importantly, fifty percent of all its profits go to children’s charities that support kids all over the globe. By supporting the Hair4Good brand, customers can support the Hair4Good vision of making the world a better place for young people all over the world. As the founder and CEO of Beauty Forward, LLC. and the brand, Hair4Good, Ms. Ahrens began her work in creating the business in 2017, readying it for the 2020 launch that allowed it to hit the ground running; emboldened by her own business prowess and operating with a singular focus, Hair4Good has developed a motto of ‘helping children in need and making clients look good in the process’. Previously, Ms. Ahrens’ role in the industry was vice president of sales for a much larger, corporately owned beauty company. Ms. Ahrens was the youngest corporate officer and first female VP of sales within the aforementioned company. At the time of her departure, there were few female corporate officers. Making a difference everywhere she goes with her giving attitude, commitment to positive change, and hard work, she and the team at Hair4Good share an attitude of kindness, respect, empathy, and positive approach to challenge. Nominally, with its work benefitting Circle of Care, Lifting Up Westchester, HairWeShare, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Make a Wish, and Autism Speaks, Hair4Good’s products are currently sold through its online store. It welcomes all customers to go and have a look through its extensive catalogue of brushes, accessories, and styling solutions, and is excited to develop many more products for O May22140 each of these categories in the future, extending its halo of supported charities as it continues to grow and planning to enter brick-andmortar retail. Company: Beauty Forward, LLC. Brand: Hair4Good Contact: Mary Ahrens Website: https://hair4good.com Instagram.com/Hair.4.good Facebook.com//thehair4good Linkden.com/Hair4Good Hair4Good, winner of both the above award and the title of the ‘Most Socially Responsible Hair Accessory Company’ in the USA, has built a reputation for itself for innovative, pretty, and long-lasting hair styling supplies from hairbrushes to accessories and styling tools. Led by one of winners of the ‘World’s 10 Visionary Leaders to follow in 2022’ – Mary Ahrens – this company supports several different charities from St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital to Autism Speaks to Circle of Care.
Acquisition International - Issue 8 2022 7 Athens Financial Services PC is a leading firm that provides a diverse range of financial solutions, such as tax consulting, accounting, advisory and insurance products. In Athens Financial Services, the customer always comes first – in turn, you can always expect to receive a premium service! Jun22662 he word “family” means a lot to AFS. Indeed, created by brothers Nikos and Elina Karamanou, AFS thrives upon familial connections – it strives to build such bonds between itself and its clients. Elina Karamanou is notable for her experience in the field of business administration and Nick Karamanos has excelled the field of finance. Their combined knowledge has resulted in a vibrant business that offers a plethora of bespoke services in such areas. Athens Financial Services specialises in tax, accounting, advisory, and insurance products, with each being fully harmonised with the contemporary requirements and legislation. The company aims to design new services and products that meet all the needs of its customers. Furthermore, the company’s ethos is centred on the customer’s experience; as a result, this approach has established AFS in the consciousness of its customers and the wider market. As such, Athens Financial Services has acquired a highly diverse clientele. The company’s philosophy and the team’s empathetic nature is the key for catering all kinds of clients, and in a technocratic society, that makes all the difference. By treating its clients with kindness, AFS has cultivated loyalty – for example, the company boasts five-star ratings across several platforms. Clients describe the business as ‘the finest accountants,’ ‘excellent’, and ‘remarkable.’ One customer writes, ‘AFS has been handling my tax and financial affairs for over seven years. In that time, my life has become so much easier and my stress levels have been reduced dramatically thanks to the friendly and helpful people at this company. They keep me up to date with financial news, send me reminders when payments are due and they are always available to answer any queries and explain things clearly to me. I can’t recommend AFS strongly enough.’ Much of this success can be attributed to the dynamic team of AFS. The team is built up of carefully selected members – they have been handpicked based upon their emotional intelligence, skills, and their critical perception. In essence, the workforce has been designed to make the clients feel comfortable. Combining the team with the company’s motto, #mazimegalonoume (which roughly translates to ‘together we grow’), Athens Financial Services has become a place in which its customers feel secure with the services it offers. Going forward, the company hopes to continue along its path of success. So far, AFS has offered its clients high-level services across three key pillars – business, tax, insurance and administrative consulting. Therefore, their immediate goals are to add two more pillars, human resource management and sourcing and marketing/ T advertising planning and execution. In addition, its overarching goal is to create a one-stop-shop for business needs, becoming the first to do this in Greece and the Balkans by creating lifelong ties with its clientele. Contact: Nick Karamanos Company: Athens Financial Services PC Web Address: https://afs.gr/en/ Tax Consultancy of the Year - Athens
8 Acquisition International - Issue 8 2022 Jun22519 The New Solution for the Emerging Healthcare Industry TIPS SA, as ‘2022’s Leading Healthcare ICT Solutions Company’ for Latin America, has made itself an innovative, ingenuity-powered, and people-first business taking hospitals into the future. Its educational, technologically front-running, and clinical efforts streamline all elements of patient care from outpatient care to hospitalization, emergency care, home care, day hospital, operating room management, chemical laboratory practice, imaging, and more, creating systems that get rid of all unnecessary bloatware. n information technology company applied to health, TIPS SA is one of the most important business units of its kind, and a foremost cornerstone of the Hospital Privado Universitario de Córdoba. Furthermore, TIPS SA is totally made up of an interdisciplinary group of systems that allow it to corner highly variant and diverse elements of the market, covering a variety of different elements when it comes to comprehensive services and solutions, such as prevention and complex care. Working with private and public healthcare both, it plies its trade to create an attitude of the highest responsibility and utmost efficiency, allowing it to effectively become a front runner in information and communication technology in healthcare. From administration to healthcare, promotion, building solutions, increased patient safety, increased quality of care, updates to certain healthcare facilities, continuity of care, and even operational efficiency, it takes care of all manner of operational elements for its clients. Its solutions are more than satisfactory when it comes to healthcare, teaching, and research because of this. In short, it can take any number of processes, and in the application of its ICT services, better it in terms of efficiency and execution both, working with an institutional mindset and perspective as it does so. Thanks to the computerization of the Hospital Privado Universitario de Córdoba, TIPS SA can now provide a much higher quality of care to its patients, promoting efficient hospital management, the growth of its activities, and an overall better healthcare experience for both the public and staff. After all, it is from the ICT department of this hospital that TIPS SA was born. Nominally, it wishes for every hospital to be able to have access to the services it has been able to implement for the institution in which it was founded; this would allow them to benefit accordingly from the resulting multi-level, highly complex, and incredibly well-evolved internal processes involved. Moreover, evolving such processes allows healthcare institutions to gain a complex and comprehensive understanding of the challenges that individual healthcare providers and the wider industry face. A Understanding this – both in the role of the provider and insurer – allows TIPS SA’s clients to easier empathise with their fellow professionals, making for a resulting growth spurt born from provable expertise and more accurate forecasting. Indeed, the growth it has maintained has allowed it to make significant positive change to not just medical institutes in its region, but also across Latin America, following its institutional mission to provide the best solutions to the health system. Indeed, this mission has remained with it since the beginning, and the continuity within itself has ensured that it can offer the same level of dependability to its clients. Making itself a benchmark for industry standards, it hopes that by leading by example, its peers are inspired to follow in its footsteps towards better international healthcare that puts the patients first, and makes life easier for staff by streamlining and digitizing relevant processes. This action and its implementation are made possible through experience, dedication to service, and constant innovation, resulting in highly modern organisation and a solid foundation. Critically, the commitment that it shows to keeping these values intact as its pillars mean that it can always keep its people at the forefront of its work – peers, partners, and patients alike – make it a highly motivated cornerstone of industry. Moreover, the emphasis that TIPS SA puts on trust, motivation, and commitment sets it apart from its peers. With this as its unique selling point, and under the vision of promoting quality about all else, its interdisciplinary team of professionals guide the future of industry with expert hands that care about the shape they are morphing the sector into. The implementation and development of these new solutions, it hopes, will form the bedrock of the new paradigm it wishes to emerge, one in which challenges can be tackled head-on, without nearly as much time sunk into the resolution, allowing specialist professionals to turn focus back on the patient. The medical ‘know how’, therefore, that runs within its team has been purpose built to be impeccable. After all, to serve an industry, one must know an industry, and TIPS SA has worked hard to be able to be
Acquisition International - Issue 8 2022 9 The New Solution for the Emerging Healthcare Industry an empathic and understanding resource for the practitioners using it, carrying an innate medical excellence within its DNA upon which the actual technology is built. Inspiring people to feel more in control of their work, enhancing their efforts, and making themselves part of a common process, it believes that no singular person within its ranks is more important than anyone else in order to foster the same sort of staff appreciation in its clients. Nominally, its multidisciplinary and diverse team is celebrated for their differences in fields and backgrounds. Thusly, everyone has an equally weighty voice within the business, and it is passionate about the technology and health specialties that come about as a direct result of this diversity, things that would absolutely not exist without the input of people from all areas of the medical and information technology industry. Despite the impacts of Covid-19 – one of the biggest challenges to the medical industry in a very long time – this company and its staff have used the unity integral to the business to push through, empowering patients through rapid communication and staff through eliminating bloatware. With all-new solutions from the Patient Communicated program to the obese patients program, adult control program, follow up programs, and more, it has been blazing a trail towards further success by using the IoT. In this manner, it hopes to continue innovating with its up-and-coming self-service care management app, and looks forward to continuing to help its clients implement the latest and greatest healthcare services into their businesses as the world continues to evolve. Company: TIPS SA Contact: María Cecilia Camillucci Website: https://www.tipsalud.com.ar
10 Acquisition International - Issue 8 2022 May22144 Most Creative Consultancy CFO (Latin America): Agustín Correa Wunderman Thompson as a company has developed a reputation for the utmost creative consultancy excellence over the time it has been in operation. From the very first client to the most recent, it has dedicated itself to helping clients put their best foot forward in their market segment, inspiring growth for ambitious brands by ensuring they can keep up with the ever-shifting sands of the modern world’s disruptive technology and market change. As the CFO for this company, Agustín Correa has secured his reputation as one of the foremost financial professionals in creative consultancy. gustín Correa of Wunderman Thompson has made a name for himself as its Chief Financial Officer and one of its crossfunctional professionals when it comes to international expertise in business, market analysis, accounting, taxes, credit, and collection. Based out of Wunderman Thompson’s Bogota office, he has served as a financial controller in both advertising services and consumer goods industries. Fundamentally, his combination of strong analytical skill and business insight has allowed him to promote change, drive business growth, and inspire ambition in his team, something that has effectively allowed him to drive positive forward momentum for his company, its clients, and his own personal career. The company itself prides itself on the inspiration of growth for brands with ambition enough to achieve it. In essence, it makes itself a partner to their success and future development as a part creative agency, part consultancy, and part technology company, with its experts striving to deliver a driving force for better across the entire brand that is brought to its clients with the most impeccable customer service at heart. A part of this customer service dedication is its commitment to ensuring that its own internal processes are well designed. After all, in order to strengthen its clients for their move into the emerging new age that is securing its pre-eminence after the pandemic, it must itself be prepared to meet any challenges this entails head on. Globally speaking, Agustín Correa has seen his company grow into a 20,000-person strong enterprise. Thriving in 90 markets worldwide, its people operate with connection, collaboration, and mutual respect in mind at every turn, using the driving ethos that Agustín Correa and his fellow directors have imbued into the company to ensure that every client walks away having had the best experience. Thusly, it has been able to bring creative storytelling together with diverse perspective, inclusive thinking, and highly specialised vertical capabilities in order to drive the growth of its clients’ businesses in an international and industry agnostic sense. The customer can, in this manner, expect to be taken on a journey when it comes to Wunderman Thompson for creative consultancy. A From communications to commerce, consultancy, CRM, CX, data, production, technology, and end-to-end solutions that deliver the most revolutionary work, it has secured notoriety in the international corporate ecosystem for being one of the most effective drivers of positive forward momentum that allows clients to put their best foot forward. The position of Agustín Correa as CFO is an indispensable part of this process. In 2020, his efforts alongside the rest of the company’s leadership team ensured the successful release of the Inspire platform; this platform, a proprietary online interface that explores what makes an inspiring brand effective, has been developed with the utmost rigour as standard. Rooted in proven tactics, trusted methodology, and the quantification of previously somewhat nebulous growth points, Wunderman Thompson has identified what makes a brand successful, taking multiple dimensions into consideration and narrowing them down to the best qualities that a brand can embody, and – most importantly – how to actionably implement these. Culminating in the annual list of the Inspire Score Top 100 Most Inspiring Brands in the World, its wide range of different capabilities has endeared it to a wide range of different clients that has only grown more expansive as its online platform has continued to grow and improve. Indeed, with proven acuity across the industries of data, health, inclusive XP, intelligence, production, and technology, the expertise it has gathered into itself through its incredible staff has set it in good stead to be a linchpin of modern communication consultancy. With paradigms shifting under the feet of the corporate ecosystem on a near-daily basis, the impact of the pandemic, and the changing situations brought on by geopolitical circumstance, having a good consultancy on side is becoming more important than ever, and many brands have awoken to this truth. Agustín Correa and his company and his team hope this continues to be the case long into the future, allowing them to continue to bring many more clients into the fold. Indeed, this attitude has aided them in gaining and maintaining several very high-profile clients over the years it has been in operation, each of whom have given it several glowing reviews and testimonials that have created an atmosphere of mutual growth and development.
Acquisition International - Issue 8 2022 11 Most Creative Consultancy CFO (Latin America): Agustín Correa In terms of Agustín Correa’s personal efforts, he has been able to use his education from the University of Buenos Aires in order to become one of the foremost Chief Financial Officers in the Bogota D.C. Metropolitan Area, Colombia, and Central America in the macro scale. He boasts several international finance credentials, as well as 18 years of cross-functional expertise in business, market analysis, accounting, taxes, credit, and collections, as well as control in the advertising and consultancy service for the consumer goods industries. Moreover, he has gained additional accreditation for his ability to combine strong analytical skill with business insights. In the past, he has plied this trade for a few other equally as impressive companies, too, allowing him the personal professional growth that he has needed to reach the lofty position in industry that he holds presently, emboldened by the trust of peers, partners, and clients alike. These have included J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, Adidas, and Cencosud S.A., and have seen him build his skills in everything from client negotiation and forecasting to leadership, strategy, business planning, financial analysis, accounting, internal auditing, and project management. As Agustín Correa and Wunderman Thompson continue to move forward into the future, therefore, the company has been able to promise a prevailing dedication to client success and satisfaction, one that will allow customers to find ways to thrive, grow, and conquer. Company: Wunderman Thompson Contact: Agustín Correa Website: https://www.wundermanthompson.com/
12 Acquisition International - Issue 8 2022 May22414 Most Client-Focused Accountant (ACT): Marianna Agostino Based in Sydney, Australia, Conscious Wealth Creation is a boutique virtual accounting practice working with small business owners “to break the mould and do accounting differently”. Marianna Agostino founded the practice out of frustration with corporate models and wanted to run an accounting practice in line with her own views and values. She wanted to have real conversations with her clients and help them achieve their personal goals, no matter whether these are to earn enough to work three days a week to maintain some work/life balance or if they want to run a large corporation. In light of Marianna’s awards success, we got in touch with the lady herself to learn more about her firm and how it is changing the way accounting is done. onscious Wealth Creation is a team of five operating with core values of integrity, abundance, acceptance, and empowerment to uplift clients and enable them to focus on what they do best. From business mentoring, structuring and advice to bookkeeping, compliance and tax, they cover everything a client could need in terms of putting their finances in order. However, looking beyond the client’s books into the heart of their business, the team believes wealth is defined by more than just finances. From a young age, Marianna Agostino knew she had a gift for numbers – people trust her with numbers and she instinctively knows what to do with them. However, after years of working in business and accounting, she found that numbers aren’t actually what she gets up for in the morning; they are the medium through which she make things happen, because they are how she helps others to achieve their goals. While Marianna had been tempted to climb the corporate ladder to CFO, she came to realise that what she really wanted to do was help people to balance their lives as well as their books. And she is satisfied herself with earning enough to pay the bills while having plenty of time to enjoy life. Marianna says, “I’ve learned that riches aren’t just what’s shown on the bottom line, they’re the experiences we accumulate and the impact we make.” Marianna isn’t alone in enjoying work/life balance either, with her company working entirely remotely allowing her team members to make the most of the flexibility. For example, those team members who are early risers prefer to get work out of the way in the morning and love to have time to themselves in the afternoons and evenings. Whatever keeps the company’s staff and clients happy is what it moves towards. Indeed, Conscious Wealth Creation’s culture is evolving much like the rest of the world. It fosters a supportive and collaborative environment by using online tools to connect and communicate. It also aims to hire based on personalities and value systems that work well together; not being your usual accounting practice, Marianna handpicks team members who suit the company’s mission. Marianna says, “Our clients appreciate our attention to detail and our general understanding of their business and their needs. We are a team of lateral thinkers who assess the situation and design a solution that C will suit the client rather than forcing a particular solution on them. With this in mind, our staff are warm, adaptable and highly competent.” Marianna goes on to give us an insight into the finance industry at present. “I think as finance professionals, we forget about the human element of money and business. Currently in Australia, we are experiencing increasing living costs and stagnant wage growth. This is difficult for much of the population, and I don’t expect things to get better before they get worse. We as advisors need to come to terms with that and realise that our clients are likely to need coping strategies to keep their businesses and investment portfolios intact.” In addition to this, compliance requirements are increasing and regulatory bodies like the ATO and ASIC are closing those loopholes that some were able to take advantage of. Marianna says, “I think that ‘the good old days’ are over. This means getting a little more human and thinking a little more laterally when advising and guiding our clients.” Being a member of the Tax Institute of Australia, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, the Conscious Wealth Creation team is sure to remain in the know when it comes to changing laws and requirements. They also remain open to changes in technology and service offerings in order to provide clients with an unbiased suite of options to suit their business – Rather than trying to fit them into a predetermined model that only works for the company and its processes. Now, the future is looking bright for Conscious Wealth Creation, where there are plans to grow the team and to become known for education, management support and strategy. Marianna tells us, “We find that clients crave support and want to feel more self-sufficient in their business dealings rather than relying on an expensive advisor to do all of the work all of the time.” And that’s just what the company can help them with. Company: Conscious Wealth Creation Contact: Marianna Agostino Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: magostino.com
Acquisition International - Issue 8 2022 13 Leading Corporate Finance Management Firm of the Year – Kent stablished in 1993, Chantler Kent Investments provides lifestyle financial planning solutions, going beyond traditional wealth management services (i.e., assets, net worth, and valuations of investments) with a focus on building clients’ money as a tool to achieve goals in life, as opposed to simply gaining value. Its clients receive a bespoke, friendly service which meets their financial goals and allows them to have control of their finances now and in the future. Since its founding, it has built a team of specialists, including financial advisers, chartered advisers, paraplanners, and experienced administration staff. Its mission is always to treat its clients fairly, creating long-term relationships of trust and mutual respect. Its tailored approach ensures its chartered, financial, and lifestyle financial planners (together with its team of paraplanners) take time to understand Chantler Kent’s client’s long-term goals and assist them in meeting future financial objectives. Its independent financial advisers explore a broad range of products and services for the firm’s clients, developing rich portfolios based on their needs. E Chantler Kent serves individual and corporate clients and its bespoke service is built around the lifestyle its clients want. Whether the client’s dream is to move to the country or take a luxurious holiday of a lifetime, it factors all its client’s wants. Its staff take responsibility for every task and project they are involved in, going above and beyond to ensure client satisfaction. Testimonials for the firm often cite the in-depth information they provide, the speedy responses, and the ability to advise and listen. This is borne from the incredible maturity of Chantler Kent’s advisors as its teammembers have years of experience working within the financial services sector. Over the decades, its clients have found that by listening to the team’s guidance, they can make decisions based on input, expertise, and knowledge. Beyond its regular services, Chantler Kent currently runs a graduate programme. It has picked up this opportunity on noting how insurance firms and investment houses previously offering these programmes have diminished their capacity. Recognising this as a real opportunity to make a positive change in many people’s lives, it jumped at the opportunity. During Covid, it enabled staff to work from home to ensure its clients continued receiving a good level of uninterrupted service. During this time, its income level increased and it made many changes to its operations that have become mainstays of its entire practice. Among the changes was the firm’s move to hold face-to-face client meetings, via telephone, or by using the emerging tools such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The focus in this period was to make the client journey (and their ability to access its services) more streamlined and convenient, which was the case with its additions of more convenient meeting options. Its approach of trying to understand the things clients wish to have and accomplish during their lifetime, considering their well-being and values, it finds out what they want to do in the future. This is such a stark contrast to so many within the financial services sector. And so, Chantler Kent’s lifestyle financial planning is a massive hit. Its clients are incredibly appreciative of its award-winning guidance, and the future looks even brighter. Contact: Claude Carletide Company: Chantler Kent Investments Web Address: www.chantlerkent.co.uk Unlike many of its competitors, which focus on numbers, Chantler Kent Investments focuses on finding out what its clients want to accomplish during their lifetime and builds profitable portfolios with dreams in mind. The financial services sector is competitive, so finding a firm with a specific and unique niche makes for an exciting opportunity to explore. Contact: Claude Carletide Company: Chantler Kent Investments Web Address: www.chantlerkent.co.uk Jun22388
14 Acquisition International - Issue 8 2022 Jun22276 A Customer Centric Attitude Towards Cyber Security SecurityHQ is a Global Independent MSSP that detects and responds to threats, instantly. As your security partner, we alert and act on threats for you. Our customers and partners gain access to an army of analysts that work with you, as an extension of your team, 24/7, 365 days a year. Receive tailored advice and full visibility to ensure peace of mind, with our Global Security Operation Centres. Utilize our award-winning security solutions, knowledge, people, and process capabilities, to accelerate business and reduce risk and overall security costs. ith six Security Operation Centres spread across the globe – UK, India, Dubai, Australia, USA, and South Africa, we have mastered the art of providing revolutionary, highend, managed security services to our clients to ensure Visibility, Response Capability, Collaboration, measurable Risk Reduction and Assurance. Above all, we provide Peace of Mind. Our DNA is built on the foundations of Integrity & Transparency, Continuous engineered Innovation and Agility. This DNA, coupled with customer centric attitude of our employees, has empowered us to work as an extended arm of our client teams and not merely as vendors. A Proven track record of 99% renewals resonates the fact that our clients trust us and consider us as part of their own team. The founders of the company are very involved in the operations of the company, and ensure they are available and accessible to customers and staff 24x7x365. W What makes SecurityHQ stand out within the industry? SecurityHQ have come a long way on its MSSP journey, starting with small and medium clients to now servicing a vast majority of enterprise grade global names. Today, we service clients in every continent, including smaller island countries like Fiji, countries in Asia and Africa. The diversity in our footprint spans across verticals with BFSI, FSI, Energy, Education, Ecommerce, Retail, Manufacturing, Construction, Aviation, Stock Exchanges, ITES, Government and Federal agencies, and more. Our global presence has enabled us to establish a robust reseller program complimented by our direct sales program. The split today between direct and reseller/partner driven sales is equal and our goal is to consciously increase our direct sales. Our offerings are focussed only on elevating the security posture of our clients. Contact: Eleanor Barlow Email: email@example.com Company: SecurityHQ Web: https://www.securityhq.com/
Acquisition International - Issue 8 2022 15 A Customer Centric Attitude Towards Cyber Security SecurityHQ staff are all certified, cyber security specialists. This gives us the edge over our competitors – we are Specialists while others are Generalists. This has helped us surpass our competition in all regions. Our award-wining Security Analytics and Incident Management platform, SHQ Response, is industry first and redefines the way we collaborate with our clients, by simplifying their cyber security journey. What role do your staff play in the success of your firm and what qualities do you look for when recruiting new talent? What makes us so strong as a company, is our ability and capability to recognise and recruit talent from across the globe. Our analysts are some of the most experienced and qualified in the industry, and hundreds of them are available on demand, to provide business intelligence, advice, monitoring, stability, and innovation. 80% of our staff have been with us since inception, and have actively contributed towards the growth of SecurityHQ. Some of the top CISOs and CIOs in the industry have recognised our staff as being the best in the industry. We are a global company and employ many different people, of differing nationalities, backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, abilities, ages, and genders. It is this combination of difference and inclusivity that makes us such a rich and diverse organisation. Are there any specific industry-based challenges you are facing now and may do in the near future? Adversaries today have a larger and more diverse attack surface area, especially with regards to the move to cloud. The majority of business now have a hybrid environment with reasonable split between cloud and on-prem IT assets. This changes the game for us as the defenders; we as a team need to match the pace of introduction of new environments and up our skills to ensure we understand the new threat actors and devise strategies to safeguard our clients, all in rapid time. In addition, new compliance mandates are introduced almost every quarter and existing mandates are being tightened to ensure data confidentiality of organisations. This puts tremendous pressure to adapt our global delivery to comply to these mandates, while ensuring we maintain the same delivery standards and agility in the service. With regards to COVID-19, one benefit to come out of how the pandemic impacted business was that our existing clients became more flexible when it came to the mode of operations. We also had a surge of new clients onboarded as, once again, the threat surface area widened due to the introduction of work-from-home, and companies just simply were not prepared in terms of their security. As a result, we as a company experienced 43% growth in new contracts. Do you have any plans for 2022 and beyond that you would like to share with our readers? Innovation is embedded in SecurityHQ’s DNA. We consistently innovate and upgrade our service offerings. Our Innovation team is tasked with designing Yearly ‘Innovation Programs’ which are then assigned to our teams across the business. Our SHQResponse platformhas been awarded by IBMBeacon Awards as the most ‘Outstanding Security Solution’ in 2021 and it is recognised as industry first, combined with the introduction of the Mobile App. Our App has elevated the collaboration between our teams and our client teams, providing the power of ‘SOC in your hands’. 2022 has been focussed on launching new world-class Security Operation Centres, revamping our existing facilities, developing automation & containment modules and the launch of SHQ Academy to upskill our staff and new staff. Year 2023 plans to be even more exciting and includes revolutionizing the way our customers will be able to buy our services and the way they would be provisioned. We will also be focussing on corporate social responsibility activities across all our offices, to ensure we give enough back to society. Sanket Khanolkar, COO, SecurityHQ Sanket plays an integral part in the management, operations, and business development at SecurityHQ. He has a proven track record of building successful strategic alliances which have enabled SecurityHQ to increase its global footprint. As the COO, he is based in the Global Security Operations Centre in India and is responsible for building and maintaining a world-class Global SOC and expert team of Security Analysts. Today, the Global SOC in Pune is recognised as one of the best Security Operation Centres in India, for its cuttingedge services to clients across the Globe. https://www.securityhq.com/meet-our-team/sanket-khanolkar/www.acquisition-international.com