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Why local service beats global ambition for today's business deals


In September 2015, the Financial Times reported that London had surpassed New York to become the world’s leading financial centre. This information was gathered by the Z/Yen Group following a detailed study of 86 cities.

It’s likely that London’s dominance will remain for some time, even with Brexit looming and a slowdown of deals during the post-referendum period into summer 2016. More than ever this puts a strain on advisors, including investment banks and law firms, who are the global coordinators and book-runners of transactions such as IPOs, Mergers & Acquisitions. Uncertainty can lead to smaller teams having greater workloads, as the windows for launching deals shrink.

Within this pressurised industry, sourcing reliable, professional service companies to help these deals to market can be challenging. Business procedures are not always seamless, and business professionals seek trustworthy, efficient third-party service companies.


Tim Black is joint Managing Director of Black&Callow, a global financial printing company which helps companies and their advisors with the production and distribution of financial and legal deal documentation for IPOs and other capital markets and M&A activity.

“Sourcing reliable, professional partners for deal-related services such as ours can be difficult for advisors because there are few, if any, internal procurement teams specifically benchmarking them. Essentially, choosing a financial printer or any other advisor is not part of their already-stressful ‘day job’, which is to captain deals. It usually comes down to relationships. This often means that providers with the biggest marketing budgets are selected, even though they may not be best-placed to manage a particular deal.

In our industry, speed and precision are critical because we are dealing with very small transaction windows, while the documents are getting ever larger due to increasing regulation. Confidentiality is of paramount importance due to the price-sensitive information with which we are entrusted.

Given London’s dominance as the world’s leading financial centre, we believe that it is vital to have resources such as typesetting in-house at our offices in London EC2, working around the clock. Yet some providers either have their typesetting teams based overseas, or sub-contract these services entirely, sometimes without their clients’ knowledge. We have significant resource to allow us to see through the drafting process from start to finish. We do not outsource this vital function, so customers remain content that their confidentiality is protected and that price-sensitive information stays inside of the business.

Having everything under one roof in the City allows us to build strong relationships with our clients, because it allows them to meet the teams managing their projects, enables them to draft documents on-site in a fraction of the time, and gives them confidence that their deadlines will be met on time, every time.”

Chris Callow, Black&Callow’s joint Managing Director, notes that “Having the largest in-house specialist financial typesetting capacity in Europe at our London offices has valuable benefits. It puts us directly in touch with the London Stock Exchange and UK Listing Authority in Canary Wharf meaning we can keep up with changes in the way regulators interact with advisors, particularly with regards to blacklining documents to enable changes to be tracked more easily. We are right where we need to be to stay on top of market activity, legislation and the world of finance.

Each and every Black&Callow staff member is legally diligent and has a great deal of experience. Our customers trust that their documents are in safe hands. Clients identify that a local service can have global capabilities, and that is certainly a benefit for all parties. We know that quality doesn’t need to be compromised.”

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