Belfast advisory firm lands in Scotland with four top hires

Left to right are Harry Linklater, Bruce Walker, Craig Holmes, (MD, HNH), Chis Fawbert, Neal Allen. Picture: Contributed
Left to right are Harry Linklater, Bruce Walker, Craig Holmes, (MD, HNH), Chis Fawbert, Neal Allen. Picture: Contributed
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Four senior professionals from top accountancy practices in Scotland have come together as part of a venture targeting family-owned businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The new Edinburgh-based operation will form part of HNH, a Belfast-based advisory firm that typically advises on deals in the £1 million to £50m range.

Based in the capital’s Charlotte Square, the new team consists of Neal Allen, Harry Linklater, Bruce Walker and Chris Fawbert. Prior to joining HNH, Allen was head of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) for KPMG Scotland, Linklater was a partner in French Duncan LLP, Walker led KPMG Scotland’s debt advisory team and Fawbert was an assistant director in EY’s corporate finance team.

The practice will initially focus on providing M&A, debt and transaction services and has already completed an advisory role for food producer R&W Scott as well as a “significant funding role in the distilling sector”. Other clients have been drawn from the financial services, manufacturing, building products and transport sectors.

Allen said: “We’re all excited to join HNH and build the business in Scotland by offering SMEs a new approach to corporate advice. While some business owners are rightly cautious because of Brexit and global economic concerns, many of our contacts, particularly in food services, are telling us they want to execute growth plans.

“By providing senior-level advice, which was previously viewed as the preserve of larger firms, we can help SMEs grow through potential headwinds by securing the right funding options, partners and acquisition targets.”

HNH is a well-established Northern Ireland-based company that works extensively with the directors and shareholders of entrepreneurial companies throughout the UK and Ireland.

Craig Holmes, managing director of HNH, said: "This is an exciting move for HNH as we build on great foundations in Northern Ireland to extend our offering to Scotland.

"Assembling a team as strong as this demonstrates how confident we are in the Scottish economy. While initially focusing on M&A, HNH in Scotland will also have access to our business restructuring, tax advisory, forensic and human capital teams."