Empowering the Freelance Economy

What does JSA’s acquisition of 6CATS mean for contractors?

John Hoskin, CEO of JSA Group
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JSA Group, an umbrella company based in Watford, has made yet another acquisition, its eighth deal since 2018. This time it has acquired 6CATS Group, a London-based global independent contractor compliance and payment services business. 6CATS is best known for its overseas placements. It has just over 2,000 contractors working through more than 300 agencies in 80 countries worldwide.

Given the rising concerns over ransomware attacks on umbrella companies in the UK and contractor data being reportedly leaked on the dark web, contractors will be looking for new umbrella and payroll service companies.

Many umbrella contractors may also be looking for international placements as the UK cost of living is rising at an unsustainable level alongside IR35, and the upcoming tax rate rises.

How do contractors rate JSA?

The integration process for any merger can cause issues for customers. According to JSA Group’s CEO John Hoskin, the company has long admired 6CATS, especially their “emphasis on customer service and commercial, genuinely compliant solutions.”

“We completed the transaction on 25/01/22 with the express intention of making 6CATS the flagship for our international expansion, and the expected cornerstone of our overseas growth for the next few years,” said Hoskin.

For the most part, contractors are happy with JSA Group’s customer care. A recent Trustpilot reviewer said:

Excellent service received. Was really worried and stressed out. The lovely lady calmed me down, listened and understood exactly what to do.

However, there have been complaints of late, also over on Trustpilot, that the accounting services part of the business is falling short. One customer made this review:

“Yet another JSA customer with an awful experience and accounts filed late. Since my brilliant accountants, Accountsnet were bought by JSA the service has got worse and worse and the monthly costs have gone up.

A contractor has had similar problems with the accounting side of the business:

I’m a contractor and very rarely have queries, all I need is my VAT submitted and tax amounts calculated. They got my personal income tax amount wrong (by a long way) and feels like you have to constantly chase them to get a response for basic questions on email. I have been with them 5 years now and it was ok to start with but recently it’s gone downhill very quickly.

You might want to look around a bit first as I’m sure there are much better firms out there. They did call me after posting this review to say they are trying to get better but that sort of thing doesn’t happen overnight.

For more reviews, click here.

Bringing on more staff may be what JSA needs.

Michelle Reilly, CEO of 6CATS, was already scouting out a sale of the business:

“Over the last year or so we have been working on plans to sell the business to a partner that can help us grow, as well as maintain our position as the best international contractor management provider, for many years to come.”

The 6CATS deal also means no staff losses, which should mean a smoother integration process.

We believe this is great news for all our employees, contractors and clients; no staff losses are planned or anticipated, plus I and the other directors will continue to run the business and continue the incredible growth of the 6CATS brand across the world.

Michelle Reilly, CEO of 6CATS

“We see this as a fantastic opportunity for all of us at 6CATS, joining a well-established group with a strong balance sheet, talented and experienced management and dynamic people who can help us move forward in key areas, notably in IT and systems development,” said Reilly.

Who owns JSA Group?

6CATS represents JSA’s eighth acquisition since the business received a £19.5m investment in return for a 56% stake from Universal Partners in 2018. Universal is a Mauritius-based investment holding company listed on the Johannesburg stock exchange.

JSA now supports more than 1,000 recruitment businesses and approximately 30,000 freelancers and contractors. JSA also announced this month that it plans to rebrand to Workwell™ from March 9th 2022.

1 Comment
  1. Sadhana says

    Another takeover and company to decimate! JSA has a track record of quantity over quality.
    They have much to learn. I took the brave plunge and went to a competitor after suffering incompetence and poor advice from JSA.

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