FAST-growing legal firm Simpson & Marwick has added a Glasgow-based operator to its stable, as part of its ambitious expansion across Scotland and across legal services.
Alston Law has become part of the Simpson & Marwick brand following a successful acquisition by its parent company. The combined businesses have a turnover of £5m.
The move propels Simpson & Marwick to a head count of over 70, while the absorption of the specialist firm also gives it a slew of well-established contracts with over 40 leading housebuilders, panel managers and lenders across the UK.
Alston Law is best known for its lender services, in particular remortgages and debt and asset recovery, which will remain a distinct specialism. It is familiar territory for Simpson & Marwick Managing Partner, Rob Aberdein, 41, a leading specialist in the recovery of debt and assets.
He said: “We know the lender services sector well. This is a tremendous opportunity to develop an area where we have the technology, understand regulatory compliance and where both customer service and specialist knowledge are coveted by clients.
“We understand the sensitivities that are particular to the Alston Law client base. Our first job has been to meet with clients and reassure them that they will continue to see the same outstanding levels of service and expertise. Indeed, we plan to invest in enhancing the service they receive.”
Denise Loney, the outgoing Managing Director of Alston Law, will remain as a Director with Simpson & Marwick and said: “We’re incredibly proud of the team and what they have achieved. Becoming part of a firm like Simpson & Marwick is the ideal way to start the next, exciting chapter for the firm and I have no doubt that everyone involved will go on to enjoy considerable success.”
Richard Loudon, Chairman of Simpson & Marwick said: “Adding the Alston Law specialisms to our property-related work is a superb addition to the business. A former colleague remortgaged recently through Alston Law and was very impressed by the quality and efficiency of the service.”
Alston Law’s 40-strong team provide legal services almost exclusively to FCA-regulated companies in the financial sector. Its specialisms include litigation to recover loans, commercial debt and assets including property. It also has extensive experience in the asset and motor finance recovery sector.
The Alston Law brand will continue for all litigation and debt recovery services, however all property and conveyancing services, including remortgages, will now be part of Simpson & Marwick.
Mr Aberdein added: “With its history and pedigree it makes perfect business sense for this large number of property transactions to come under the Simpson & Marwick banner.
“We expect to help almost 10,000 Scots with their remortgage during 2021 and we hope that many of those people will become long-term Simpson & Marwick clients for both estate agency and legal services in the future.”
Mr Aberdein praised the foresight of Denise Loney and the management team at Alston Law for their “shrewd and forward-looking” early adoption of technology.
He added: “To many of the existing financial services clients, those tech capabilities are every bit as important as the legal services.
“We believe that private clients and SMEs are increasingly choosing legal services on the same basis. Ultimately, clients simply want to access legal services in a far easier and more convenient way.”
Alston Law’s support staff and systems, including HR, finance, marketing and IT, will be the foundations for the growth of Simpson & Marwick.
Mr Aberdein said: “That is a crucial ‘next piece in the jigsaw’. Alston Law’s 6000sq ft office on Glasgow’s Renfield Street will become our national headquarters, a central operations hub and an engine room for our growth.”
In October Simpson & Marwick and its 30-strong team of lawyers and estate agents became part of Moray Group which launched in September with a promise to harness the latest tech to transform the customer experience of professional services in Scotland.
In January Moray Group announced that the Edinburgh legal and property specialist, which dates back to 1886, would become its primary, national legal brand.
Moray Group has a financial target of achieving a turnover of £10m by the end of 2021. On the legal side its focus will be on, estate agency, conveyancing, debt recovery, wills and executries, powers of attorney, family law and accessible corporate law for SMEs.
With offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and North Berwick, the group intends further rapid expansion, driven by acquisitions of well-established legal firms with untapped potential. It will also bolt-on services including financial services and property letting.