The following summarizes our five key predictions for business owners in 2019 as discussed in our recently released Knowledge Economy Outlook paper.
1. Economic and political uncertainties will create opportunities for agile consulting companies to develop solutions that can help mitigate the current business risks facing their clients.
In 2018, the Equiteq Knowledge
Economy Share Price Index posted its biggest decline since 2008. This mirrored
weak performance across broader market indices. After a highly volatile end to
the year, we commence 2019 with increased equity market uncertainty led by a
range of political and economic risks. Against this backdrop, consulting
business owners will need to be aware of the opportunities to position their
organizations appropriately in 2019.
The Equiteq Consulting M&A Index remains significantly above long-term averages and the Equiteq Consulting Share Price Index achieves a ten-year high.
Global consulting M&A activity, as tracked by the Equiteq Consulting M&A Index, was robust in the third quarter. Deal volumes rose in comparison to both the prior quarter and the third quarter of 2015 with serial acquirers like Dentsu, Accenture and Deloitte continuing to be highly active. Third quarter M&A activity was highlighted by landmark transactions within media and management consulting, as well as the broader IT sector.
The Equiteq Consulting Share Price Index also performed very strongly this quarter, outperforming both the S&P 500 and FTSE 100. The index is now at a ten-year high with particularly strong increases in the management consulting and engineering consulting indices.
Consulting buyers report “business as usual” with respect to acquisitions in the U.K. and Equiteq’s Consulting Share Price Index continues to rally beyond pre-Brexit levels, supported by the release of a string of robust economic data.
Two months on from the U.K.’s vote to leave the E.U. and the vast majority of the U.K. and overseas consulting buyers that we are in regular discussion with report that it is business as usual as it relates to their strategy for acquisitions. Robust investor confidence in the consulting and IT services sector is also evident from the continued rally of the Equiteq Consulting Share Price Index beyond the levels reached pre-referendum, with some consulting sub-segments touching record highs. This positive sentiment is supported by the strong U.K. and European economic data that has been released over the past two weeks.
As we discussed in our last quarterly update, the initial period following the U.K. referendum was marked by a spike in volatility, particularly as it relates to the trading of equities and currencies. This week it was announced that U.K. manufacturing exports are at their highest level in two years and a Eurozone economic sentiment indicator published by the European Commission rose in July. This market data is painting a more optimistic picture of post-Brexit economic conditions, particularly when combined with the surge in U.K. retail sales and the fall in the U.K. unemployment claimant count, which were both announced this month. These recent economic figures contradict some of the early indications that consumer and investor confidence was falling in July.