L.E.K. Consulting launches Australian financial services practice

13 May 2020 Consultancy.com.au 4 min. read

Global strategy consulting firm L.E.K. Consulting has launched a financial services practice in Australia and New Zealand.

More than thirty years after launching in Australia, L.E.K. Consulting will expand its international financial services practice into Australia and take part in the local consulting industry’s largest industry vertical. The industry is currently valued at US$5.8 billion, and fee income generated in financial services amounts to around one quarter of the total.

“This is an exciting opportunity for L.E.K.” says Nicholas Holder, Partner and Head of L.E.K. Consulting for Asia Pacific. “It enables L.E.K. to extend its market-leading growth strategy and transactions offering during a time when astute business leaders will be positioning themselves for the post-Covid-19 future.”

Simon York, Senior Adviser Financial Services - LEK Consulting

The segment L.E.K. Consulting is eyeing – strategic advice, due diligence and transactions – represents between 15% to 20% of all financial services work, with the majority of spending going to consultants specialised in risk & compliance and digital transformation.

The new practice complements L.E.K. Consulting’s existing 10-plus industry groups, including practices dedicated to consumer products, industry, energy, life sciences, media & entertainment, private equity, retail, technology and travel & transport. In the public domain L.E.K. Consulting has a strong track record in among others the government, education and public transport segments.

Ripe for strategic advice

The launch comes at a time of major disruption in the financial services industry, driven by quickly changing business models, the rise of fintechs and challenger banks, a heightened regulatory burden, as well as big tech’s growing ambition to expand their grip on financial products. Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the Hayne royal commission, risk and customer experience have become boardroom priorities.

Disruption is now being exacerbated by the covid-19-induced downturn. “The current environment is bringing massive change to all sectors, and financial services is deeply impacted as unemployment rises, credit losses increase, and the economy faces an uncertain path forward,” says Simon York, who has joined L.E.K. Consulting as a Senior Adviser to spearhead the new industry vertical.

He added, “In this context we expect a number of business models will be challenged and that this will drive significant strategic activity.”

York brings over 25 years of experience working for global financial services companies in strategy and corporate development, management, marketing and advisory roles in North America, Europe and Australia to the table. 

Prior to joining the consulting firm, he was an Executive Director at Macquarie Group for over a decade. During this period he established the Corporate Development and Strategy team for Macquarie Corporate and Asset Finance, personally leading over $15 billion of completed M&A transactions (acquisitions, disposals, minority investments, equity raisings), as well as the entry into multiple new markets.

“Disruption in the financial services industry is challenging business models, and this will drive significant strategic activity.”
– Simon York

Before that, York worked for GE Capital for eight years, during which time he was Director of European Business Development, European Marketing Leader for GE Fleet Services and Managing Director of GE Fleet Services for ANZ. His early career was at the investment banking arm of French group BNP Paribas, advising on M&A transactions and equity and debt raisings. 

At L.E.K. Consulting, he will work closely with transactions services veterans Stuart Westmore, Neale Jones and David Ferrarin. York: “I’m thrilled to be joining an exceptional team and look forward to working with them to help our clients with their most pressing strategic challenges.”

York is based in L.E.K. Consulting’s Sydney office, which launched in Australia in 1987. The firm’s Melbourne office has been servicing clients since 1993. Combined the two offices house sixteen partners and over 100 consultants, landing L.E.K. Consulting a spot in Australia’s leading strategy consulting firms list.