As the sun begins to set on 2021 and the world adjusts to living with COVID-19, there are some organisations that remain in the realms of constant change and potential volatility. The pandemic has arguably changed the way we work forever. Organisations are challenged with increased costs, and are being forced to develop hybrid operating models that keep their people safe and productive.

This era of transformation has produced just as many opportunities as it has challenges. Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are just one opportunity. M&A activity remains strong, due to the promised benefits of scale; efficiencies; cost reduction; increased performance; greater investment in R&D and elements of diversification. However, M&As require both a carefully considered long-term strategy and a discerning tactical approach to ensure each entity comes together as one, and remains competitive in a constantly changing environment.

IQ’s involvement with M&As continues to increase, particularly in the superannuation industry, through the provision of our advisory services, our expert delivery and our broad range of managed services. We play a vital role from consideration and planning through to making it happen, and here are a few things we’ve learnt along the way:

  • Successful M&As require clearly articulated plans and execution across several areas (no one more important than the other). Areas such as Strategic Objectives; Defined Measures, People and Culture; Operating Model; Governance; and Technology.
  • Within the M&A environment, each entity comes with its own history, current state of affairs and future thinking, so it’s important to define three things up front – the foundations, the enablers and the differentiators.
  • Recognising existing strengths across areas ensures the best opportunities are brought to fruition and that the process remains positive the whole way through.
  • The importance of culture cannot be underplayed. As a representation of identity, culture is crucial in realising both economic and social benefits for both entities and their customers alike, and should be well represented in the change management process.
  • Something that is often overlooked are the measures and motivators. Many organisations, understandably, find this a difficult area to work through. However, IQ have learnt that with clearly defined objectives, the right measures can be designed. Real value is gained through the ability to track progress over time and support decision making along the way, allowing for an efficient and productive process.
  • Customers are the common thread through all of these areas. They provide the vital external lens through which to view each organisation’s performance or social position. Implementing future-proof plans whilst improving the customer and stakeholder experience is no easy task. However, post Royal Commission, it is crucial that customers are well informed and clearly understand how changes impact them personally. Measuring how customers feel about interactions, and monitoring that at all levels of the business, goes a long way to making sound decisions that continue to deliver the required outcomes.

IQ takes great pride in supporting clients through mergers and acquisitions. Our depth of collective skills and experience combined with our chosen collaborators, helps us deliver top class results for our clients and ensure they stay on the right path and realise their long-term strategies.

By Trevor Govender, Head of Customer, IQ Group