Consulting firms in Britain offer lots of financial expertise to banks, insurance companies, and other businesses that manage money. Whether it’s making strategies, going digital, following rules, doing deals, or operations, consultants work closely with financial leaders to guide them through changes.
With deep understanding of money topics and good planning approaches, big and small consultancies help shape financial services in the UK. Major advisory powerhouses lead the way, along with new specialists too. Let’s look at top names:
The “Big Four” Lead in Financial Services
Called the “big four” professional services networks, Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG are tops when it comes to advising know-how and reputation. Their money consulting teams have big strengths working with banks, investors, wealth management, private equity, hedge funds, and more.
While these four began as accounting firms focused on taxes, auditing, and making sure rules were followed, over time they built impressive management consulting groups to handle complex financial client needs. Let’s examine them more:
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
With over 20,000 money experts across the UK and Switzerland, Deloitte leads this field, says Consultancy.uk’s Top 50 list. Some key things to know:
- Good at auditing, actuarial services, Deloitte Digital, financial advising, tax advice, and consulting for risk, finance, operations, and technology.
- Expertise with corporate, commercial, and retail banking. Help with core banking changes, bank operations, payment upgrades, and more.
- Insurance specialists provide life and pensions consulting, follow regulations, model capital, analytics, and tech.
- Wealth management advice on investing strategy, financing, rules, and digital tools.
- Recent clients include Standard Life Aberdeen, British Business Bank, TP ICAP, Stonehaven UK, and MoneySuperMarket.
Known as PwC, they’ve invested a lot in building their money-consulting skills, including buying other companies. Key things to know:
- Seen as trusted guides for big changes in banking and money.
- Good at advising on customer experience, operations, new tech, environmental, social, and governance goals, deals, risks, and regulations.
- Help banks with offerings for retail banking, corporate banking, capital markets, and digital payments.
- Advise insurance companies on using data to guide decisions, connecting finance and risk, and making claims.
- Wealth management services include future workforce planning, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and ESG targets.
- Recent UK clients: Standard Life Aberdeen, British Business Bank, Legal & General, TP ICAP, Stonehaven UK, and MoneySuperMarket.
Ernst & Young
Known as EY, they’re investing heavily in new digital tech to keep leading complex money consulting projects.
- Seen as designers and drivers of strategic changes thanks to expertise and digital tools.
- Strong in advising on risks, customer experience, operations, tech implementation, sustainability and environment/social/governance goals.
- Help banks with offerings for retail, corporate, and investment banking including credit risk, financial planning, and open banking solutions.
- Advise insurance companies on advanced analytics for pricing, data-driven underwriting, personalized customer engagement, and cloud migration.
- Guide wealth and asset management in areas like investor experience, data governance, data management, capital strategies, and more.
- Recent UK clients: Abrdn, Link Group, Insight Investment, Brewin Dolphin, Goldman Sachs International.
As one of the largest professional services firms in the world, KPMG leverages those cross-industry insights to elevate its financial services consulting.
- Positioning as trusted advisors combining real-world experience, technical depth, and transformative technologies.
- Service expertise across audit and assurance, tax advisory, transactions, restructuring, and strategy consulting catered to the financial sector.
- Banking services like digital transformation roadmaps, credit risk modeling, regulatory response initiatives, operational excellence via process automation, etc.
- Insurance offerings across data analytics to inform underwriting, cloud migrations and management, customer experience design, capital management, and risk management
- Wealth and investment management advisory in areas like digital platforms, ESG integration, investor reporting, and data governance
- Recent UK clients like Hargreaves Lansdown, AA, Metro Bank, Starling Bank, and Banking Competition Remedies Ltd.
Prominent boutiques offer specialized expertise.
While mega consultancies have transformed into powerhouses across sectors and service lines, boutique firms bring specialized expertise along with agility stemming from their focused practice areas. Especially in ever-evolving domains like financial services, the targeted advisory abilities of these niche players are valued greatly.
Prominent among such outfits making their mark in Britain include:
With a global team of over 5,000+ consultants focused exclusively on financial services across retail banking, corporate and investment banking, insurance, wealth management, and asset management, they are widely regarded as thought leaders in the industry.
- Positioning as the go-to specialist consultant, bringing deep industry insights coupled with expertise in areas like digital transformation, data analytics, customer experience optimization, risk management, and operations excellence.
- Service strengths across strategy consulting, organizational transformation, risk management, operational improvement, and technology implementations, with all offerings customized to financial services.
- Recent high-profile clients include the likes of Morgan Stanley, Santander UK, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and QBE Insurance Group.
Alvarez & Marsal
While originally founded as a restructuring consultancy, A&M has diversified into a leading name in financial services operational and digital transformation projects such as:
- Positioning as the specialist consultant driving change through hands-on delivery expertise combined with industry insights.
- Service expertise in transformation execution across process improvement, digital roadmaps, data analytics, customer experience, and human capital realignments.
- Banking services like integration consulting post-M&A, credit risk modeling, finance function optimization, digital product development, and branch network optimization.
- Insurance offerings across distribution channel enhancement, claims process improvements, solvency and capital modelling, and underwriting transformation
- Recent clients include names like Metro Bank, Allianz Insurance, Phoenix Group, and Card One Bank.
As a dedicated financial consulting outfit headquartered in London with regional offices globally, Alpha FMC advises banks, asset managers, and insurance players on:
- position as experts integrating deep industry knowledge with data, technology, and insights to create innovative yet practical solutions fine-tuned for client needs.
- Service strengths include strategy formulation, business and operating model transformations, customer experience optimization, organizational realignment, operational enhancements, and digital solutions.
- Banking consulting across retail banking, corporate banking, and investment banking includes offerings in payments modernization, pricing optimization, customer analytics, and sales transformations.
- Wealth and investment management services like distribution strategy, investor experience improvements, data governance, and operating model alignment
- Insurance clients assisted across areas like advanced data analytics adoption, digital channel enablement, and business capability enhancements.
- Recent clients include HSBC, Nutmeg, and Allfunds Group.
How Financial Firms Benefit from Consultants
The scope and complexity of change facing the financial sector implies senior executives can gain tremendously by leveraging consultants as partners in key initiatives like:
Getting Subject Matter Expertise On-Demand
- Tap into niche expert talent across digital transformations, customer engagement, risk management, regulatory response, capital strategies, and other priority domains.
Additional manpower bandwidth
- Consultants add significant project management, analytical, and execution capacity that can accelerate timelines.
Independent Voice Offering Fresh Perspectives
- External vantage points can spot improvement areas and offer innovative solutions.
The Latest Strategic Thinking and Industry Best Practices
- Exposure to proven frameworks and emerging trends globally relevant to strategy and operations
Operational Excellence Powered by Technology
- Combining industrialized solutions and digital tools for competitive advantage across processes and customer touchpoints
Evaluating the Right Financial Consultant
As financial institutions scan the consulting market, suggested evaluation dimensions include:
- Industry and domain specialization: Experience catering to financial services or lines like banking, insurance, wealth management, etc. is invaluable.
- Cultural compatibility: select advisors that understand the organizational context and values and work as win-win partners.
- Pricing and commercials: While experience and track record should lead, flexibility is needed to creatively balance value vs. investment.
- Methodology and accelerators: leverage of proven tools and frameworks that result in solutions tailored for needs yet systematic in execution.
- Service scope: capabilities across strategy, operational excellence, digital transformation, organizational change, etc. based on specific priorities.
- Client testimonials: Validate capabilities, not just claims, especially from groups similar to one’s own firm.
Financial services consulting in the UK continues to evolve across emerging areas like digital assets/crypto, ESG advisory, cybersecurity, advanced analytics/AI, and open finance partnerships.
The firms leading complex yet invaluable change mandates at legacy institutions and fintech disruptors alike combine specialized expertise with an intimate understanding of what makes the industry tick locally and globally. Finding the right partner to fulfill transformation objectives requires careful diligence across multiple dimensions. But the rewards can be game-changing.