AlixPartners Buys Mercatus

AlixPartners has acquired Boston-based consulting firm Mercatus. Terms of the deal were not released. Mercatus advises financial institutions including retail banks, wealth management firms and payments providers on business growth decisions, and advises private equity firms on retail financial services investments, the company said in a written release.

PRESS RELEASE

AlixPartners, the global business-advisory firm, today announced that it has acquired Mercatus LLC, a Boston-based strategic consulting firm focused on the retail financial services industry. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Mercatus advises financial institutions including retail banks, wealth management firms and payments providers on business growth decisions, and advises private equity firms on retail financial services investments. Well-known for their in-depth knowledge of consumer product and channel preferences and decision-making behaviors, its professionals have special expertise in channel delivery models, mobile banking and payments, product and pricing strategy.

With this acquisition, AlixPartners adds the extraordinary talents of Bob Hedges and Teresa Epperson, two veterans of the financial services industry with more than four decades of industry expertise between them and a deep knowledge of retail services and delivery. Hedges and Epperson will join AlixPartners as managing directors, and are tasked with helping with continued growth of the firm’s Financial Services Practice as well as providing strategic counsel to existing Mercatus and AlixPartners clients.

Fred Crawford, CEO of AlixPartners, said of the acquisition: “The economic downturn has sparked unprecedented change in the financial services industry — companies are now faced with strong economic and regulatory headwinds, and competition from nimble, innovative non-traditional players. With these changes come both opportunities and threats, and AlixPartners sees undeniable opportunity, especially within retail financial services, for those players who move aggressively to adapt to today’s new realities.

“With the addition of Bob and Teresa and their talented team,” continued Crawford, “our Financial Services Practice will enrich its operational services with unparalleled retail and consumer expertise complementing our expertise in such areas as cost reduction, sales management, footprint optimization and overall organizational restructuring.”

Bob Hedges is founder and managing partner of Mercatus. His client work focuses on developing marketing and distribution strategies for financial services clients ranging from large, nationally branded companies to early-stage ventures.

Before founding Mercatus in 2006, Hedges spent more than 12 years in senior operating and leadership roles at Shawmut Bank, FleetBoston, and Fidelity Investments. His responsibilities included business strategy development, product management, distribution and sales management for a broad set of retail business lines. Hedges also served as the Chairman of NYCE, the regional ATM network, and previously worked in consulting at both MAC Group/Gemini Consulting and First Manhattan Consulting Group. He earned his MBA from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College.

“Coming from a line management and strategic consulting background, I have deep respect for AlixPartners’ unparalleled operational expertise,” said Hedges. “AlixPartners’ Financial Services Practice is now truly a one-stop-shop for financial services firms seeking customer insights, strategy development and implementation — or, to put it simply, results.”

Teresa Epperson, who was a founding partner of Mercatus, works closely with large retail financial services organizations to develop business strategies and help them design and deliver effective distribution programs. Epperson is well-known for her retirement expertise and led a 2007 and 2008 landmark study series, sponsored by the Bank Administration Institute, focused on retirement preparedness in the United States. Her work concentrated on consumer behavior, needs and preferences, and assessed the banking community’s ability to meet those emerging retirement needs. In addition, since 2008 Epperson has led Mercatus’ Mobile Financial Services Tracking Study, which is the industry’s leading source of insights on mobile banking and payments adoption and usage.

Epperson has spent more than 15 years in the financial services industry, as both a consultant and senior manager at major financial services institutions. In leadership roles at FleetBoston and Fidelity Investments, she managed successful efforts in business strategy development, large-scale business process and systems reengineering, distribution sales and service management. Epperson received an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business Administration, and her undergraduate degree from Cornell University.

Said Crawford: “Both Bob and Teresa have a wealth of talent and experience within financial services and have established themselves as true industry leaders and thinkers. We are pleased to welcome them and their team to our firm, and look forward to working with them to propel the delivery of high-impact, innovative solutions to our clients.”

About AlixPartners
AlixPartners LLP is a global business-advisory firm offering comprehensive services in four major areas: enterprise improvement, turnaround and restructuring, financial-advisory services and information-management services. The firm has more than 900 professionals in offices across North America, Europe and Asia.