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  • Status: Realised
  • Date: 2010–2015
  • Sectors:
    • Financial Services & Insurance
    • Business & Technology Services
  • Location: Global
  • Buy & Build: 8
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During the four years that Sovereign backed Cordium, the business grew to become one of the world's largest independent compliance and regulatory consultancies to hedge and private equity funds.

Investment Background

Cordium (previously called IMS Consulting Group) was founded in 1997 to provide regulatory consulting services to regulated financial services firms. The quality of its offering coupled with the increased regulatory requirements of financial services firms, resulted in the business growing steadily.

By 2010 the owner wished to step back from the day-to-day running of the business and realise some of the value he had created in the business, while retaining a shareholding going forward. He needed a solution to the succession issue as well as an investor that would support Cordium to achieve further growth. He chose Sovereign.

As part of the succession planning, Sovereign introduced an experienced CEO, Michel van Leeuwen, and Tony Solway as Non-Executive Chair. Michel had more than 20 years' experience in the financial services and technology sectors. Tony was previously CEO at BNP Paribas Securities Services.

Value Creation

  • Sovereign introduced an experienced CEO and Non-Executive Chair at time of the original acquisition to address succession planning
  • 8 acquisitions completed
  • 5 new overseas locations added organically and through acquisition
  • Increased its client base nearly fourfold, from around 400 at the time of Sovereign's investment to 1,500 in 2014
  • Broadened service offering and created web-based software solutions

The Cordium Growth Story

In partnership with Sovereign, Cordium made eight strategic acquisitions. Some of the owners of these businesses wished to retire, while simultaneously securing the long-term future of the business. Others were attracted by the opportunity to access new funding, new markets and to become part of a rapidly expanding group.

Sovereign's in-house research team sourced all eight acquisitions, including HedgeOp in New York, HedgeStart in London and Zodiac Advisory Services in Malta.

During our investment period, Cordium opened its first office in Asia in response to strong customer demand, and through overseas acquisitions, turned from a London-based business into a global one with offices across the world.

The Group also broadened its service offering to include accounting and tax alongside software services and became known for its innovative web-based software solutions.

At exit, Cordium had grown to become one of the world's largest independent compliance and regulatory consultancies to hedge and private equity funds.

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Sovereign stood out because they truly understood Cordium and our market – others said the right buzzwords but Sovereign knew what they were talking about. From the outset we operated as a team. Sovereign didn’t dictate to us but instead we worked alongside each other towards a shared vision for Cordium.

Michel van Leeuwen / CEO (2010–2016)