finance

Simpson & Marwick becomes pre-eminent brand behind acquisition spree



A new challenger in Scotland’s professional services scene is to put one of the country’s oldest legal names front and centre in its ambitious growth plans.

Already synonymous with residential property in Edinburgh and the Lothians, the Simpson & Marwick name will now become the pre-eminent brand for all the group’s planned expansion across Scotland.

Simpson & Marwick’s history includes a leading role in the Piper Alpha enquiry and representing airline giant Pan Am in Scotland following the Lockerbie bombing.

Rob Aberdein, who launched the new professional services group last year and is now managing partner at Simpson & Marwick, admitted the acquisition in October prompted a rethink in direction.

“Our plan was and remains to grow by acquiring high-quality, but under invested, legal practices across multiple disciplines.

“Simpson & Marwick was most definitely an exception to that – under our original business plan, many such practices may well have retained their names; now they will become part of Simpson & Marwick,” he explained.

“We could never have dreamt that in our first few months of existence we would land a name with such history, pedigree and recognition factor.

“That is worthy of us totally pivoting our plans – and as a new and agile challenger business, that is exactly what we are doing.”

Chairman Richard Loudon added: “For the past few years Simpson & Marwick has been best-known in the higher end of the Edinburgh and East Lothian property markets – that will remain the case, but we also intend to rebuild Simpson & Marwick as a powerhouse across a host of legal services.”

Earlier this month, Simpson & Marwick poached Malcolm Cannon, former head of ESPC, from his most recent role at the helm of the Institute of Directors Scotland.

In his new position as managing director of property services, he will ensure the firm continues to compete with national upmarket estate agents like Savills and Knight Frank, while increasing its reach across Scotland.

Meanwhile, Aberdein will continue to drive forward a series of acquisitions already in the pipeline. Where those firms offer legal services, they will be folded into the Simpson & Marwick offering.

As part of the changes, he will also change the name of the group from Aberdeins to Moray Group.

“At launch we needed a name and Aberdeins was fine, however, I believe that something less personal to me makes greater business sense for the long term,” he stated. “Beyond these important name changes, everything else remains the same.”

While its core will be legal services, the group is geared up for rapid expansion by creating and acquiring businesses in professional services areas, including estate agency, property letting, accountancy and financial services.

Aberdein oversaw significant growth for Aberdein Considine before becoming the youngest ever equity partner at English legal firm Walker Morris.

Meanwhile, Loudon is ‘in with the bricks’ at Simpson & Marwick, having joined the firm as an apprentice in 1979.

Simpson & Marwick traces its roots back to 1886. However, it merged into global law firm Clyde & Co in 2015. The firm’s niche property division continued to use the name, until its amicable demerger from Clyde & Co in October 2020.

With 30 staff, the firm has offices in both Edinburgh and in North Berwick, East Lothian.



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