Pension consultancy GroupLife joins forces with IG&H Consulting

25 February 2019 Consultancy.eu

Two consulting firms in the Netherlands have joined forces. GroupLife, a consulting firm for the pension and life insurance sector, has been integrated into larger counterpart IG&H Consulting & Interim, creating a management and digital consultancy with more than 220 professionals.

For GroupLife, the move is the second merger in the past years. The company was founded mid-2015 when four specialised consultancies from the Netherlands and Belgium united to form GroupLife*. The firm with offices in Eindhoven, Amersfoort en Kruibeke helps client with a range of organisation and technology services, including the design and setup of a pension provider organisation, liquidation of pension funds, risk management, process implementation, data science, vendor selection and system implementations. 

Commenting on the firm’s deal with IG&H, GroupLife co-founder Wim Groenen said that the team is delighted with the joining of forces as it will enable the firm’s employees to make an even larger contribution to the success of its clients. “IG&H knows how to combine its expertise in strategy, data analytics, technology and organisational transformation with sector knowledge.” Tom Bottinga, another co-founder, added: “This step creates a specialised consulting group that is capable of providing an end-to-end service for business and technology transformation.” 

Jan van Hasenbroek, the managing partner of IG&H Consulting & Interim, supports the view: “GroupLife has an impressive track record and a proven methodology in business modelling, implementation of technological platforms, and data management. The bundling of portfolios fits well within IG&H’s strategy to continuously strengthen its technological ecosystem.” Pension consultancy GroupLife joins IG&H Consulting

Founded in 1988, IG&H is one of the larger management consulting firms in the Netherlands. The firm’s 160 consultants serves clients in three main sectors: retail, healthcare and financial services, with the latter practice its largest group in terms of fte’s and revenue. IG&H works for many of the top banks, insurance companies and pension funds in the Netherlands, including ABN Amro, Aegon, Achmea, BNP Paribas, Dela, ING, NN, Rabobank en Van Lanschot. Among the firm’s clients in the pension industry are players such as APG, Centraal Beheer Achmea, Delta Lloyd and PGGM. 

Alongside a stronger service portfolio and a complementary client network, Van Hasenbroek highlighted the strong match between both firms’ cultures. “Both companies have in-depth knowledge of the sector, intimate customer relationships and consider quality a top priority.” While this evidently surfaced during the detailed due diligence conducted on strategic fit and culture in the run up to closing, Groenen pointed at the learnings both firms have assembled from projects delivered together at joint clients. “During those projects, we discovered that we have similar ideas about how to address complex business transformations.”

Keeping pensions sustainable

The move comes at a time when the Dutch pension landscape is facing major change. The government is pushing for pension reforms in a bid to curb the mounting costs of sustaining the elderly, and on top of this, minister Wouter Koolmees is also exploring ways to modernise the system to allow for more flexibility in how pension payments are invested, both in terms of the channels used and in the height of investments. Players in the sector are meanwhile facing growing challenges from increasingly demanding customers, the entry of tech-savvy and innovative competitors (PensionTech) and the rising regulatory burden which is putting pressure on margins. 

As a result, pension funds and providers face the need to improve their client centricity, bolster the (financial) transparency they offer to their trustees and stakeholders, adopt digital to improve their operations and embrace technology to help them remain fit for the future. Van Hasenbroek: “The rapid developments in the sector have an enormous impact on the business models of our clients. In order to remain successful in the future, addressing organisation and technology in a combined fashion is key.”

As part of the integration, GroupLife will be rebranded as IG&H Consulting & Interim. IG&H’s office is based in the business district of Utrecht.

In other recent consulting deals in the Netherlands, financial services player ITDS Business Consultants was acquired by House of HR, while marketing and digital transformation expert VODW was picked up by EY’s Advisory arm. In the smaller deal range, Deloitte purchased Boer & Croon Corporate Finance while in December last year Grant Thornton acquired two consulting firms in the country. 

* The four firms were: Oviro, BoH Consult, Staander from the Netherlands en BISure from Belgium.