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Who’s got your back? Choosing your overseas advisers

Who’s got your back?  Choosing your overseas advisers

In the last 3 months, we’ve worked with two overseas businesses doing their first acquisitions in the UK and Europe respectively.  Two completely different industries, one private company with revenues in the 10s of millions, and one foreign listed entity with revenues in the hundreds of millions ($, £ and € – choose your currency!).  We were interested to learn, however, that both however used similar criteria for choosing which professional advisers looked after them away from home.

Here’s our 7 top tips for selecting your foreign advisers:

  1. Get a personal recommendation from someone you know well and trust – preferably another professional adviser who has worked with the recommended firm or individual.
  1. Check their credibility and relevant experience. What have they previously done in your sector and for whom?
  1. Talk to them, see if you like them – face to face is ideal but if you can’t meet, speak to them on the phone or over Webex, Skype, Facetime etc. It’s easy to sound smart, helpful and nice on paper.
  1. Talk pricing and timetables as soon as you can – you’ll be wasting your and their time if your budgets are in different ball parks or they can’t deliver in your required time frames. Get some certainty from them around pricing.
  1. Can they provide language and cultural awareness support? Don’t ever underestimate the importance of this even if you appear to speak the language of the target country.
  1. Any existing relationships that will help? Have any of your team, your advisers or your counterparties worked with them before or at least have knowledge of them?   Linked to no. 1 for sure and immediately will help in developing a frank and trusting relationship.
  1. Can they and will they introduce you to others that can help? Do they have access to other ‘best of breed’ advisers?  Tease this out of them and understand the way they operate.