AGN International and DFK International Form Strategic Alliance

AGN International and DFK International have formed an alliance, Global Connect, with the aim to formalize client referrals between member firms of both associations.

“It’s not intended to run a bank account and overheads, and pay subscriptions. Certainly those are possibilities. We’re open-minded about how this might develop but for the time being it’s simply a vehicle to give some structure. It’s there to have some rules, procedures and guidelines that we’ve both signed up to,” says DFK International CEO Martin Sharp.

“It is business as usual at the member level, but where occasionally we can’t take care of a matter within our own association, the first port of call is to one another. Global Connect really is a collaborative relationship; it’s us working together as a wider group to further each other’s interests,” says AGN International CEO Malcolm Ward.

“Both of our associations are all about independent firms, principally firms that wish to continue to trade and operate under their own name, under their own rules and procedures, their own branding, principally,” Sharp says. “But the marketplace is not littered with such firms of good quality and good standing, which both of us expect. So that leaves vacancies or gaps in coverage.”

“This is client-service led,” Ward says. “We’re both quite substantial organizations. We have good coverage, quite similar from one another, but not completely without gaps but by the time you factor in increasingly complex niche and specialty requirements it’s very, very handy to draw on both our memberships which represent something north of 400 members. That gives us more breadth of choice.”

“Obviously an alternative to collaboration would be merger but because we have so much similarity, merger seems, on the face of it, not to deliver very much benefit and a lot of potential friction and disadvantage,” says Sharp. “But collaboration seems to bring the advantages we might not otherwise get with a merger without actually losing what’s special and particular and valued by our members in our own associations.”