For over a century, Smith & Williamson has provided financial and advisory services to businesses up and down the country. The firm was founded back in 1881 in Glasgow by David Johnstone Smith and Andrew Williamson in Glasgow. The pair’s first London base of operations opened in 1893.
Over the years, Smith & Williamson has grown through a series of significant mergers and acquisitions. In 2001, the firm merged with NCL (Securities) Limited (incorporating Cunningham Coates in Northern Ireland), later merging with Solomon Hare, a UK accounting and financial advisory firm in 2005. Its acquisition of Begbies Traynor in 2011 also helped grow the business.
Currently, Smith & Williamson has 11 offices across the UK, Ireland and Jersey; employing 1,800 people. As of 30 June 2020, the firm has an estimated £21.9bn of funds under management and advice and access to nearly 20,000 professional advisers worldwide.
Smith & Williamson offers a variety of services, including but not limited to: assurance and accounting, advisory consulting, business outsourcing, fund administration, and dealing with business tax. Many of the firm’s clients operate in the financial services market, the third sector and real estate.
In the year ending 30 April 2020, Smith & Williamson’s operating income rose by 6.1% to £295.2m, compared to £278.1m in 2019. This was mainly attributed to higher average market levels and strong growth across the group’s professional services transactional business lines, despite the impact of Covid-19 towards the end of the period.
However, Smith & Williamson’s profit before tax fell by 13.4% to £34.9m, a significant drop from £40.3m the previous year. Adjusted operating profit for the year increased by 9.7% to £53.1m from £48.4m in 2019.
In September last year, the firm announced the completion of its merger with financial planning provider Tilney; now operating under the name Tilney, Smith & Williamson. This makes the organisation the third-largest UK wealth manager when ranked by revenues and the sixth-largest UK professional services group by fee income.
The new business will include expertise with circa 290 investment managers, 265 financial planners and more than 140 professional services partners and directors located across the country.
On the merger, the firm’s chairman Will Samuel said: “We are delighted to have successfully completed this major transaction against what is unquestionably a highly challenging economic backdrop.
“This is not only a transformational moment for both of the previous businesses, it is also a significant development within the UK financial services sector, creating a scaled-up group with an unrivalled service proposition that can support clients with the management of both their personal wealth and business interests.”