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2020 Financial Services Sector Update

As the world still faces the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses in the financial services sectors are preparing themselves for life after coronavirus. This includes the management of credit risk for borrowers, and turning to digital strategies to drive revenue growth.

Insurance and Innovation

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing the entire insurance sector to implement and leverage digital platforms that enhance customer experiences as a key part of their business strategies in a transformed world in which people are working remotely and driving their vehicles less often. The pandemic has led insurance companies to implement premium relief efforts, offer payment deferral plans, and expand coverage, but these companies are also turning to more digital strategies, emphasizing online customer experiences at a time when more and more transactions occur online versus in person. Consumers are demanding new products such as cyber insurance, more modern life insurance options, and usage-based car insurance. Middle-market insurance companies have always been a bit technologically behind the big players, but they now must adopt new innovations in order to merely keep up with convenience, simplicity, mobility, and modern interfaces that customers have come to expect.

Banking and Lending

Financial institutions are in a position where they need to understand borrowers’ needs and current financial states more than ever. They must also find new ways to measure performance through the rest of 2020. They have already provided assistance to many small and mid-size businesses during the crisis, some of which will be forgiven. Loan modifications have been provided to help businesses survive, and there is likely to be some loan losses. As the economy begins to recover, banks will be able to get a better understanding of borrowers’ financial states, knowing that it will take some time for businesses to bounce back. Deciding whether to lend more credit will be a difficult decision for financial institutions, especially for harder hit sectors such as hospitality and retail. Understanding the recovery of these industries as a whole will be critical through the use of data and payment activity monitoring.

Family Offices

Family offices are private wealth management firms that serve high-net-worth individuals and their families by offering a total outsourced solution to managing finances and investments. There are nearly 2000 of these types of firms around the world, with more than half in the U.S.

These firms have typically relied on physical offices to conduct business. Now in the wake of COVID-19, a shift to virtual family offices has become a necessity during a time where remote work has become commonplace. This has been a challenge for many family offices because most simply do not have the appropriate technology and infrastructure to result in a seamless transition to a virtual office. These businesses will be forced to evolve technologically into the rest of 2020 and beyond. As outdated technology is replaced with better performing innovations, family offices will become more mobile and agile, as well as better equipped with more adequate cybersecurity. Connectivity is also a timely issue, as Millennials will be inheriting family wealth in the future and they demand immediate access to data without disruption and with more transparency. This digital transformation to virtual family offices will also allow for a leaner staff that can deploy resources more quickly.

Capital Markets

The events of 2020 have led capital markets to affect businesses in different ways. Underwriting slowed for high-yield borrowers. Mergers were put on hold. Stock markets have been up and down, and a record number of securities and their values have been exchanged. As financial conditions improve, confidence combined with cheap credit will have companies seeking liquidity to get through the rest of the crisis. Corporations have been tapping into the public debt markets at high rates. While this generated profits at the start of the recession, bonds are less likely to be issued as businesses restore their reserves and establish liquidity that will be needed into the future.

For the rest of 2020 and into 2021, investment banking associated with M&A activity will continue to be tied to the economic recovery amid a softer deal pipeline. When the economy finally bounces back, there will be opportunity for a backlog of deals, boosting advisory revenues.

Data and Private Equity

In the time of COVID-19, certain private equity trends have emerged and are expected to be here to stay. People are still paramount, but how they work has changed. Data continues to be more important to deal making to determine the areas for greatest earnings impact. Datasets will track strategic movements and metrics within companies to gauge their performance. Remote workforces will allow competitive PE firms to source key financial talent from entirely new geographic regions. Firms are also expected to outsource more of their back-office work functions and instead focus on front-office responsibilities.  

Ready to Sell?

If you are a business owner who is considering making a move, our M&A experts at Benchmark International would love to discuss how we can help with the sale, exit or growth of your company.  

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Benchmark International Facilitated the Transaction of Conarc, Inc. to Swiftcurrent Holdings, Inc., an Affiliate of ESW Capital, LLC.

Benchmark International has successfully negotiated the sale of Conarc, Inc. (“Conarc”) to Swiftcurrent Holdings, Inc. (“Swiftcurrent”), an affiliate of ESW Capital, LLC ("ESW"). The transaction represents the conjoining of two best-of-breed solution providers.

Based in Alpharetta, Georgia, Conarc develops and sells client management software solutions used in a variety of industries including finance/accounting, real estate, healthcare and insurance. Conarc’s flagship content collaboration software product, iChannel, was built from the ground up by the Conarc development team, allowing the company the flexibility to offer a multifaceted solution with the ability to customize features to client specifications. Additional programs within the Conarc suite of products include a customer relationship management solution, workflow module, a file management system and multiple finance and accounting database products.

For nearly 20 years, Conarc has been committed to finding innovative ways to connect people, businesses, and ideas. With a current presence throughout the United States and Canada, Conarc remains dedicated to continuing improvement and growth.

 

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

 

Based in Austin, Texas, Swiftcurrent is part of the ESW Capital group (www.eswcapital.com) and is specifically focused on acquiring and growing industry-focused business software companies. ESW buys, transforms, and runs mature software and technology companies. By taking advantage of its unique operating platform, ESW revitalizes its acquisitions for sustainable success while making customer satisfaction a top priority. ESW and its affiliated companies have been in the enterprise software space since 1988, and the group includes notable brands such as Trilogy, Aurea, Versata, and Ignite Technologies.

Benchmark International’s Tyrus O’Neill acted as the lead on this transaction and was successful in pinning down the needs of both parties involved, “This is one of those transactions where the parties were truly a good fit right from the start.” O’Neill stated, “On behalf of Benchmark International, we are thrilled to have been able to work alongside our client, Conarc, in this transaction. Chet Joglekarhas built a tremendous suite of software solutions and we believe it is a perfect fit for Swiftcurrent.” Senior Associate, Sunny Garten, added, “We have really enjoyed working with our client, Chet Joglekar, and would like to take this opportunity to wish both parties the best of luck moving forward.”

Conarc, Inc. CEO and Founder, Chet Joglekar, stated, “Benchmark International’s hands-on approach during all aspects of the transaction process was fundamental in our successful deal closing. Benchmark’s industry knowledge and relationships proved to be highly valuable as they assisted us in identifying a buyer that fits our innovative culture and provides Conarc with the resources necessary to continue the company’s trajectory of rapid growth.”

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