Andersen currently has 11 clients on its books for whom it provides advisory services as a part of the ongoing requirements of being listed on AIM. But, according to an Andersen spokesperson, these clients will automatically become clients of D&T’s NomAd operation, Deloitte & Touche Corporate Finance, after the merger.
“Andersen will join under the Deloitte & Touche name and those 11 of our AIM clients would become Deloitte’s. At the moment this is still ongoing and all of our partners are liasing with the clients and working how we can fit the two companies together,” said the spokesperson.
Robert Deri, finance director at Zoo Digital, an AIM client of Andersen Corporate Finance (Andersen’s NoMad operation) told Financial Director magazine that he is sympathetic to the fact that Andersen and Deloitte have some issues to iron out. Andersen has recently contacted Deri and they will be discussing their future relationship next week.
“The result of the conversations I have had with Andersen so far is to agree that things should currently continue as normal,” says Deri. “The key is what service we continue to get from Andersen. We won’t take any knee-jerk reaction because we need to know all the facts first.”
But Andersen’s decision on the future of its AIM clients comes only weeks before the proposed 1 July target date for its merger with Deloittes, offering companies little time to change advisor if they are not happy with the new arrangements.
But for companies who wish to be masters of their own destiny (and there are around seventy NomAds to choose from) the London Stock Exchange is there to help.
The official spokesperson for the London Stock Exchange says that AIM companies considering changing NomAd as result of a merger of advisors would be treated leniently:
“In general if a NomAd was to be taken over the Exchange would be quite sympathetic to clients who want to find a new NomAd. Generally companies have one month to find a new NomAd but the Exchange would be sympathetic if companies were having real problems finding an alternative advisor,” he says.
Deloitte & Touche is not a fly-by-night company and it already has two AIM clients of its own. But one AIM company finance director who prefers to remain anonymous told Financial Director that while Andersen clients should not feel compelled to stay with Deloittes they should consider the difficulties of switching advisors.
“The tricky issue is if you want to change NomAds. Depending on your size you may or may not be attractive to other brokers and it can take time to build up a new relationship. But I wouldn’t be surprised if those Andersen clients hadn’t at least got a plan B in place,” he says.
Andersen’s AIM clients and their auditors
|Advance Visual Communications||Andersen||Deloitte & Touche|
|Digital Animations Group||Andersen||Ernst & Young|
|Just Group (suspended from AIM December 2001)||Andersen||Andersen|
|Media Content||Andersen||BDO Stoy Hayward|
|Surface Technology Systems||Andersen||Deloitte & Touche|
|Western Selection||Andersen||Deloitte & Touche|
|Zoo Digital Group||Andersen||Andersen|
Source: Crawford’s Directory of City Connections / company websites
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