Kinsey Allen, the financial services search firm which ranked ninth in the most recent Executive Grapevine list of top financial services headhunters in London, has merged with GRS Group (which didn't rank).
Both are adamant that the union allows them to tap into their natural synergies.
They are also keen to point out that unlike other recent 'mergers' between financial services search firms (Korn/Ferry International and Whitehead Mann or Napier Scott and Hanover Search) neither side has relinquished its independence due to horrible market conditions.
"This merger is being executed from a position of strength," says Ken Brotherston, CEO of the GRS group. "We've been strategically looking to move into the investment banking and capital markets arena for some time. It's a very natural extension to GRS's existing business. Likewise, GRS has a global platform which will enable Kinsey Allen to offer a genuinely global solution."
"It's completely synergistic," agrees Bruce Lock, managing director at Kinsey Allen. "GRS and Kinsey Allen's market coverage are highly complementary. They also have an established global presence. It creates a fantastic opportunity to cross sell each of our divisions across the client base".
Despite the nastiness of the past twenty four months, GRS and Kinsey Allen both say they've managed to avoid any major shrinkage. Headcount at GRS has remained largely static at around 80, and Kinsey Allen has added multiple new consultants.
The combined entity will cover everything from front office investment banking to legal, risk, tax, insurance and pensions.
Both firms are equally keen to point out that they're mostly executive search focused, although GRS derives 10-15% of its income from contingency recruitment. Combinations between executive search and contingency firms have been known to cause problems due to off-limits agreements.
"The aim is to be the leading provider of search driven recruitment services globally within three years," says Lock.
It undoubtedly helps that GRS is backed by private equity firm Penta and by Investec and is thought to have quite deep pockets.
Separately, Hexagon Human Capital, owner of Correlate said today that it's still in discussion with banks about long term funding. And Spring Group, IT recruiter has received a potential cash offer.