This piece was originally published on AFR.com and PwC.com.au

Accounting and advisory giant PwC has bought the Melbourne- based Strategic Intelligence Group (SIG), a boutique consulting firm that specialises in calculating and predicting value capture from new infrastructure projects.

Under the deal, signed last Friday, SIG managing director John Marinopoulos will become a PwC partner and his eight staff will join PwC’s infrastructure and urban renewal team, which comprises 19 partners and 120 staff.

John Marinopoulos has been a long standing friend and partner of ESOMAR. He was an ESOMAR Council member for two terms, in the period of 2007-2010. He was also part of the team inaugural winner of the forst ESOMAR Research Effectiveness award in 2011. Together with his colleagues, he presented a case study on building profit through innovation in property development which offered imaginative solutions with new learnings and a clear ROI and cost savings with public institutional implications. 

The purchase SIG comes at a time when the federal and state governments are mulling plans to incorporate value capture schemes, in which those in the private sector who benefit from new infrastructure contribute to the costs, into their funding models for new infrastructure.

It is an idea that many property developers oppose. The federal government asked last week for public and industry input about value capture.

Mr Marinopoulos said: “The tools SIG has developed will provide [PwC] clients with a life cycle solution to guide planning, design, financing and delivery of infrastructure projects.”

PwC Infrastructure and Urban Renewal Leader Clara Cutajar said this strategic acquisition has been made to bolster PwC’s capabilities in infrastructure and urban renewal projects and to enable PwC to work with clients much earlier in their project development.

“SIG are recognised as market leaders in the use of value capture techniques in the planning, design and structure of infrastructure projects.

“Their unique models deliver incredible insights for their clients using rich data and sophisticated geospatial tools, allowing urban planning that maximises both the economic and jobs growth generated by transport infrastructure such as rail lines, roads, airports and new social infrastructure such as hospitals and schools,” Ms Cutajar said.

“Alongside SIG’s strong data analytics capability, this will present a compelling additional service offering for PwC to advise on infrastructure projects much earlier in their life cycle and we’re delighted to welcome John Marinopoulos and the SIG team to PwC,” Ms Cutajar said.

As part of the acquisition SIG’s Managing Director John Marinopoulos will join PwC as a Partner and eight staff will join PwC’s Infrastructure and Urban Renewal team. Mr Marinopoulos commented that this is a fantastic time to be joining the partnership.

“The sustainability of our cities is a challenge that is front and centre for governments and policy makers around the world. When integrated into PwC’s total service offering, the tools SIG has developed will provide clients with a lifecycle solution to guide planning, design, financing and delivery of infrastructure projects.”

PwC did not reveal SIG’s 2015-16 revenue nor the amount paid for the smaller firm.

PwC has not been as active in terms of acquisitions as its rivals. Its purchase of the 43- person project management consultancy Appian Group last year was its last big buy.

This piece was originally published on AFR.com and PwC.com.au.

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