Financial PR Consultancies of the Year, Asia-Pacific 2015 | Holmes Report
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2015 Asia-Pacific Financial Consultancies of the Year

Our 2015 Asia-Pacific PR Consultancies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving more than 100 face-to-face meetings with the best PR firms across the region.

Winners were announced at the Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards in Hong Kong on 23 September. Analysis of all consultancies across geographic and specialist categories can be accessed via the navigation menu to the right or below.

Financial Consultancy of the Year — Adfactors (India, Independent)

Indian powerhouse Adfactors—which, with fee income of $20 million is the only firm from the sub-continent to rank in the world’s top 100—is best known for its work in the corporate and financial realm, despite its recent diversification. Long-term clients include major Indian manufacturing companies and multinational financial services giants: Larsen & Toubro (India’s largest engineering and infrastructure conglomerate); Mahindra Group; State Bank of India; The Carlyle Group; Jet Airways; IDBI Bank; Rothschild; and Mother Dairy.

New business over the past 12 months included Chhattisgarh Government; Deutsche Bank (India); Football Sports Development; GNRC Hospitals; Hockey India; and the India Brand Equity Foundation. Those additions have helped to cement the firm’s market leading capabilities in corporate reputation, financial communications, and issues and crisis management, as well as in the financial services and real estate sectors.

The firm’s PR campaign for State Bank of India, demonstrated its traditional and emerging capabilities, helping India’s largest and oldest commercial bank connect with younger customers. Madan Bahal’s firm is similarly differentiated by its values: an investment in professional development that has seen Adfactors send its rising stars to the Indian School of Business, Indian Institute of Management, and Harvard, among others; an in-house gymnasium and regular yoga classes; and a commitment to corporate responsibility that has led the firm to decline clients in tobacco and gambling as well as major multinationals with dubious environmental records.—PH

Finalists

Artemis Associates (Hong Kong, Independent)

That Artemis was a serious player since its 2011 inception should surprise few, given that the firm was founded by Diana Footitt, a veteran of Asia’s financial PR scene. Accordingly, the firm won Holmes Report New Consultancy of the Year honours in 2013 and has gone from strength to strength since then, with profit up 43% in 2015, thanks to a client roster that now includes Global Brands Group, Samsonite, S&P Capital IQ, Esprit, Fong’s Industries, Li & Fung, and mainland property group Poly Property. Much of that performance is down to a senior team of shareholders that has supported former Citigate and FD Asia chief Footitt with aplomb. Directors Agnes Chan and Vanita Sehgal were recently joined by two new recruits to the firm’s senior ranks — Bloomberg TV anchor John Dawson and former Goldman Sach government relations pro Mei Zhang. New business in 2014 included global mandates from Zegna, Tianhe Chemicals, HKBN, Plukka and EIC, along with assignments for Hongkong & Shanghai Hotels, Estee Lauder Companies, the University of Warwick, Henley Business School, Osborne Clarke, and advice on Global Brands’ new joint venture with David Beckham and Simon Fuller, Seven Global. Financial comms now accounts for almost half of Artemis’ profits, covering investor relations, transactions communications and financial services advisory. —AS

FTI Consulting (Independent)

FTI Consulting came to the Asia-Pacific region primarily to ensure that it could handle global M&A briefs—including the growing number originating in this part of the world—but as M&A activity began to dry up in recent years, it expanded its capabilities to include broader financial communications, corporate communications (particularly for companies in the financial sector), crisis and issues management, and public affairs—all of which is supported by strong research and strategy consulting capabilities, with the strategic communications segment of FTI’s business working closely with its management consulting parent company. In recent years, offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Mumbai, Perth, Shanghai, Singapore, and Sydney—home to about 80 of the firm’s 700 consultants—have been working more closely together, supported by a network of affiliates, and the firm’s established operations in Europe and the US. The leadership team is arguably the strongest and deepest of any of the corporate and financial specialists, led by chairman Ray Bashford, former head of marketing and communications at JP Morgan, and senior managing director Cara O’Brien, who relocated from New York to Hong Kong in 2011. Key clients include Commonwealth Bank of Australia, BNY Mellon, Li & Fung, Haier, Scottish Development International, Societe Generale, and The Estee Lauder Companies. New assignments over the past year came from The Ministry of Transport in Malaysia, energy company Petronas, Chinese investment banks China Renaissance and Citic Securities, MasterCard and more.—PH

Newgate (Porta Communications)

Founded in 2011 by Citigate Dewe Rogerson veterans Jonathan Clare and Deborah Saw as part of the Porta Communications group, Newgate has enjoyed impressive momentum through its first four years in business, establishing a global footprint that includes offices in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore in addition to its London headquarters and operations in the US and UAE. Its Asia-Pacific operations are only a couple of years old: early in 2013, the firm hired 12-year Asia veteran Richard Barton, former Asia managing partner of Kreab Gavin Anderson; a few months later the firm opened in Singapore under the leadership of Terence Foo, another Krean Gavin Anderson veteran; and in August of the same year it established Newgate Australia with a team of 20 consultants headed by Brian Tyson, managing partner, and Felicity Allen, deputy managing partner. By that time, the firm was already ranked among the top 10 M&A advisors in the region, handling 14 deals over the course of the year. Today, the firm has a balanced book of business that includes M&A, IPO, and capital markets work. Last year saw the opening of a Beijing office and the appointments of former Thomson Reuters executive David Schlesinger and HSBC veteran Tom Grimmer as senior advisors to the firm, as well as the appointment of Dan Billings from FTI Consulting as director of the Hong Kong financial practice, as the firm continued to expand its presence in the region.—PH

Ryan Communication (Hong Kong, Independent)

Hong Kong has always been fertile ground for financial services firms, and there has been no shortage of firms willing to serve them—full-service multinationals and the M&A-oriented specialists—but Ryan Communications is something a little different, focusing exclusively on the financial services arena and willing to supplement traditional media relations with a willingness to show leadership on social channels. Founded in 2007 by former journalist Damien Ryan, the firm has expanded to include additional offices in Singapore and Shanghai—with global reach through its membership in the specialized GFC/NET network (Ryan currently serves as chairman). After another year of 25 percent growth last year, Ryan Communications now has revenues of around $4 million, and a client list that includes blue-chip names such as Rothschild, Legg Mason, Royal Bank of Canada, Standard Chartered, and law firm White & Case. New clients last year included Fidelity, ANZ bank, AIG, Barclays. And law firms Allen & Overy and Eversheds—as well as corporate work for Burberry. In addition to producing a wealth of thought leadership content on its own behalf—part of a broad commitment to professional development—the firm supported the launch of Yale University in China through an innovative digital and social campaign and worked with Rothschild Global Financial Advisory as it oversaw the initial public offering of Alibaba.--PH