Edinburgh financial headhunter to hit acquisition trail

A recruitment firm specialising in the financial services sector is eyeing acquisitions to boost its growth after a strong year which saw it bounceback from the impact of the pandemic.

By Perry Gourley
Monday, 22nd November 2021, 4:55 am
Recruitment firm boss Betsy Williamson believes smaller tech specialists would be a good match for her firm. Picture: David Ho
Recruitment firm boss Betsy Williamson believes smaller tech specialists would be a good match for her firm. Picture: David Ho

Edinburgh-headquartered Core-Asset Consulting is targeting financial technology (Fintech) and IT recruitment firms amid booming demand for talent in the sector.

The firm had signalled its intention to grow through acquisition shortly before the pandemic struck, but with growing business confidence it is now reviving the plans.

After lockdowns saw hiring activity slump, the company has seen turnover bounceback and is set to report annual revenue of around £15 million, in line with the previous year’s figure.

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Betsy Williamson, managing director of the 30-strong firm which she founded in 2005, said: “We’ve dug deep and I’m proud of how the team has kicked on to put the business in such a good position.

“It means the timing is perfect to go back on the offensive, adding resources in this specialist area to complement our pre-existing market presence. Our success and resourcefulness mean that we have ring-fenced funds with a view to investing in more aggressive expansion.”

Williamson said the firm was in a strong position to add to its existing team.

“We’re in a great place for so many reasons. We own our Melville Street townhouse building and have significant amounts of space that we could devote to a new team.

“While we’re doing our own research in the market we’d welcome any contact from heads of firms looking to an exit or seeking to scale down.”

The firm specialises in recruiting roles for the finance, asset management, accountancy and legal sectors and is particularly looking to strengthen its offering in fintech which is an increasingly important sector for Scotland.

Williamson said Core-Asset was also well-placed to deal with recent tax law changes around IR35 rules which will impact on smaller tech recruiters in particular. The rules aim to make sure that a worker, who would have been an employee if they were providing their services directly to the client, pays broadly the same tax and national insurance contributions as an employee

“IR35 is likely to have a major impact on small, specialist tech recruiters and they will be taking some serious financial hits unless they have gone through the large amounts of work need to get into shape for it. I strongly suspect there will be firms out there who’d love the chance to be part of Core-Asset for that reason alone,” she said.

Scotland is home to over 140 fintech companies. Recent figures showed that the number of tech jobs in Glasgow and Edinburgh has increased by more than 25 per cent in the past two years, way above the UK's average.

The research by job advert search platform Adzuna showed IT-related vacancies account for 13 per cent of all UK job vacancies whilst this number is 30 per cent in Edinburgh and 28 per cent in Glasgow.

Some 135,000 people are employed by Scottish tech start-ups and scale-ups. This is the third highest number in the UK after the south east of England and London.

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