05:26, March 19 168 0

2018-03-19 05:26:06
Pinsents sells off compliance business to Dow Jones in “strategic partnership” deal

Pinsent Masons has sold its online compliance solutions platform Cerico to Dow Jones for an undisclosed sum.

Cerico is a tech-based solution that automates compliance processes and assists clients in embedding policies and processes in response to regulation.

Pinsent Masons launched Cerico in 2013 with IT consultancy Campbell Nash, and took a majority stake in the platform in August 2015.

As part of the deal Cerico chief executive Jim Armstrong will move to Dow Jones, taking with him fellow director Julia Salmond and Cerico’s 15 staff.

Former Cerico executive chairman Richard Masters will remain a partner at Pinsent Masons as head of the firm’s Scotland and Northern Ireland offices.

Cerico co-founder Tom Stocker will continue as a Pinsent Masons partner and lead the firms’ legal and compliance support of the combined Cerico and Dow Jones offering.

Stocker told The Lawyer: “We thought it would make sense if there was a one-stop shop offering that pulled together the Cerico process with the Dow Jones data. If you pull that together you have a unique global offering: there is nobody able to offer on a global basis Dow Jones data together with a management system that runs it.”

Pinsent Masons will continue providing the legal content for compliance work with Dow Jones as well as legal consultancy to Dow Jones clients where required.

Pinsent Masons senior partner Richard Foley said: “As the business has moved toward its next phase of growth, it has been clear that it will need to integrate with a wider range of business and financial data to support the full range of client need.”

Stocker confirmed the partnership is part of a wider “strategic rationale”.

“This will be a far bigger opportunity to work with Dow Jones. There will inevitably be new legal work supporting the clients of the new offering. People will want advice on money laundering and modern slavery, as well as risk assessment exercises and risk calibration programmes,” said Stocker.

Cerico clients include both FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies.

“We are delivering the tool in over 40 countries in a multitude of languages, used by retail clients oil and gas and infrastructure,” said Stocker.

Dow Jones head of professional information business Chris Lloyd called Cerico a “unique and holistic offering to take to the market”.

Cerico was among of the first of a series of investments in alternative delivery models and services made by Pinsent Masons, with stakes in e-commerce start-up Yuzu and diversity consultant Brook Graham.

Stocker said: “I think it’s pretty clear that the compliance market is going through quite significant change. As companies become more international they’re looking for technology to support that change: they’re looking for multilingual capabilities, and systems that can adapt to different international legal frameworks. Dow Jones has the platform to deliver that.”

Over the past three years there has been a 6 per cent drop in the proportion of total turnover in the UK from 86 per cent to 80 per cent, suggesting a wider programme of international expansion.

Stocker declined to say how much the deal is worth, but told The Lawyer: “We’ve made a profit on the deal. In the long term however, the value is the strategic partnership agreement.”