Big Four 'dominating' UK consulting market

Canary Wharf
By Isabelle Bell, CA Today

2 March 2016

The consulting arms of the Big Four are growing five times faster than the UK economy and are outperforming the wider consulting market, a new report has revealed.

Source Global Research, which provides information on the management consulting market, found that the UK consulting businesses of EY, Deloitte, PwC and KPMG grew by 11.5% to £2.55 billion in 2015 – ahead of the 8.2% growth achieved by the sector as a whole.

The Big Four firms have recently invested heavily in consulting and undertaken a number of acquisitions to expand their operations in the sector, which has traditionally been the domain of firms such as McKinsey and Bain & Company.

Some of the Big Four’s recent acquisitions in the consultancy market include:

  • PwC: Acquired US consultancy firm Booz & Co, now Strategy&, in April 2014
  • KPMG: Acquired international advisory business High-Point Rendel in July 2015.
  • EY: Acquired UK-based digital consultancy firm Seren in August 2015.
  • Deloitte: Acquired boutique leadership firm Kaisen Consulting in September 2015.

Globally, the advisory market is now worth $125 billion and Deloitte is the largest overall firm, according to separate research by analyst firm Gartner.

In the UK, financial services is still the biggest market for consultants, worth £2.3 billion in 2015, while the pharma and biotech consulting market is the fastest growing sector overall, the report said.

Risk and regulatory consulting is the fastest growing service line in the sector, growing by 11.7% to £507 million.

Cyber security is also having a significant impact on risk consulting, with some firms reporting 40% growth in this area last year.

Source's report said that the Big Four remain “well suited” to win risk and regulatory work.

Fiona Czerniawska, Director and Founder of Source Global Research, said: “The UK consulting market has seen strong growth across the board, but once again it’s the Big Four that have risen to the top. This is largely because clients recognise the scale and scope they can bring to bear, though inorganic growth also plays a big role. A busy regulatory environment, especially in financial services, has further served to bolster the Big Four’s position.”

Source: Source Global Research


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