A round-up of the latest news, appointments, executive moves and acquisitions from the world of practice during February 2016.
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Smith & Williamson’s income continues upward trend
29 Feb - Smith & Williamson delivered continued revenue growth during the six months to 31 October 2015.
Revenue for the tax and business services division grew by 4%, while the investment fee income increased by 5% year on year. Adjusted operating profit stood at £14.5m, a decline from the prior year (£19.1m), reflecting planned increases in costs to support future growth of the business.
Commenting on Smith & Williamson’s business, co-chief executive of Smith & Williamson Kevin Stopps said: “We are very grateful to clients for their loyalty and to partners and staff for their ongoing support and we are therefore optimistic about the outlook. However, the significance of this continued period of investment, combined with the challenges of the economic environment, may hold back profits in the near future.”
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Bishop Fleming listed as Top 50 firms
29 Feb - Bishop Fleming has been ranked 49 in The Sunday Times 100 best companies to work for.
The Sunday Times rated Bishop Fleming as an ‘outstanding employer,’ and they were the highest ranked UK firm of mid-sized accountants. The Sunday Times calculates businesses rankings on employees feedback and employee development.
Matthew Lee, managing partner at Bishop Fleming, said: "This is fantastic news for the firm and is a reflection of the hard work that we put in to make sure that our business is a great place to work."
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RSM appointed administrators of asset recovery business
29 Feb – RSM Restructuring Advisory have been appointed Joint Administrators of asset valuation and debt recovery specialist Winterhill Largo and several affiliates.
Lindsey Cooper, Chris Ratten and Graham Bushby from RSM will lead the administration. Winterhill Largo, based in Blackburn, provides professional services to banks, insolvency practitioners and other public and private funding organisations.
Lindsey Cooper, RSM partner and one of the Joint Administrators said: ‘We are currently working to find purchasers for the various business streams in order to maximize returns to creditors.’
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KPMG appoints new head of tax
22 Feb - KPMG has appointed Michelle Quest as its UK head of tax, pensions and legal services.
Quest joined KPMG in 1997 and has been a tax partner for the last 12 years. Michelle has also previously held a number of senior roles at KPMG including head of the UK Private Equity and EMA M&A Tax Practices.
Commenting on her appointment, Quest said: “I have worked at KPMG for 19 years and I am delighted to be taking on this new role. This is an exciting time for the tax, pensions and legal services practice as the backdrop in which we operate is rapidly evolving.
Quest succeeds Karen Briggs, who now leads KPMG’s Solutions practice in the UK and sits on the executive committee of the board.
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Clive Owen appoints new senior tax manager
22 Feb - Alison Welch has joined Clive Owen as the firm’s new senior tax manager based in the Darlington and Durham offices.
Welch brings more than 20 years of experience to the position. She is currently on track to complete her STEP qualification. Welch will be involved in expanding the firm’s tax services and advising owner managed businesses.
Commenting on her appointment, Welch said “I am delighted to join Clive Owen, a progressive firm with a fantastic reputation. There are currently so many changes being made to the UK tax system and I look forward to advising clients on how to plan their tax affairs and to ensure that they are structured efficiently.”
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Forrest Brown sees record growth in 2015
22 Feb - R&D tax credit consultancy ForrestBrown has hailed 2015 as its most successful year to date after recording revenue growth of 16% for 2015 on the previous year.
The firm recovered over £25.5m in R&D tax credits for its clients in 2015. ForrestBrown made ten new appointments during 2015, and was awarded Service
Business of the year at the national start-ups awards.
Managing director, Simon Brown commented: “We have again surpassed all of our targets for growth, and with the new additions to the team we are all looking forward to what lies ahead in 2016.
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PwC investigates blockchain technology
17 Feb – PwC has hired Patrick Spens to investigate the implications for blockchain technology.
Spens brings 30 years’ experience in the financial sector. He will work on the opportunities and challenges blockchain presents.
Michael Rendell, PwC’s transformation and innovation leader, said: “We anticipate growing demand from right across our client base for help understanding the implications and potential applications of blockchain, and Patrick is one of the UK’s leading blockchain experts.”
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Bishop Fleming announces promotions
11 Feb – Bishop Fleming, based in Plymouth, has promoted two long-term team members, Jon Sparkes and Steve Tucker.
Sparkes moves from senior tax manager to tax director after nearly 20 years’ experience working with owner-managed businesses in Devon on tax matters. Meanwhile, Tucker climbs from the business services team to senior manager following over 30 years' experience with the firm and specialises in advising businesses and their owners.
Charlie Thomson, Managing Partner of the Plymouth office, said: "We are especially proud of how long-term members of our team here in Plymouth are progressing their careers, this is great for our staff and good for our clients in providing continuity in our relationship with them"
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GT strengthens financial services advisory team
9 Feb - Grant Thornton has strengthened its financial services advisory team with the appointment of two new partners, Alex Ellerton and David Morrey.
Ellerton brings over 15 years' experience providing regulatory advisory services to financial services firms, with a particular focus on the retail market. Morrey is a subject matter expert in a wide range of conduct matters.
Commenting on the new appointments, Jon Sperrin, head of FS regulatory at Grant Thornton UK said "I am delighted to have both Alex and David join our team. Their combined experience strengthens our existing team and ensures we are continuing to deliver excellent services to our financial services sector clients."
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KPMG appoints new UK head of audit
8 Feb - KPMG has appointed Adrian Stone as its UK head of audit with immediate effect.
Stone joined KPMG’s Sheffield office in 1984 and has been an audit partner since 1997. He has previously held a number of senior roles in KPMG’s audit practice. He has been KPMG’s interim head of audit since November 2015.
Commenting on his appointment, Adrian Stone said: “I have been a KPMG auditor for my whole career and I am absolutely delighted to take on the head of audit role. Audit faces a time of huge change and opportunity as wide ranging regulatory reforms take effect prompting unprecedented levels of tendering activity, and increasing use of data and analytics transforms the audit process.”
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Baldwins acquires four more firms
08 Feb - Baldwins, based in the Midlands has acquired four more firms, which brings its expansion to 11 over the past year.
The firm bought Fox Evans in Coventry, Andrews, Orme & Hinton and Geraint Humphreys & Co, and Gorings in Debryshire. All these companies will trades under Baldwins. The number of staff has increased to more than 400.
Partner David Baldwin said: "This is a really exciting time for Baldwins....we are keen to continue to grow organically over the coming months and maintain a steady but constant expansion of our business throughout the UK."
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GT Northern Ireland appoints audit partner
04 Feb – Grant Thornton Northern Ireland has appointed Neal Taylor as a new audit partner in its Belfast office.
Taylor’s appointment coincides with GT Northern Ireland seeing a 45% rise in 2015.
Richard Gillian, managing partner at Grant Thornton Northern Ireland, said: “Neal's appointment is a hugely positive step for Grant Thornton in Northern Ireland and one which will be a significant factor in facilitating our aggressive growth plans.”
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PKF Littlejohn hires three partners
03 Feb – PKF Littlejohn has hired three partners and five other professionals from inward investment specialists.
Dominic Fiore and Keith Steele are outsourcing partners with particular strength in the inward investment market, especially from the USA. Jonathan Boyfield is a tax partner specialising in expatriate and non-domiciled individual private tax issues. He brings with him a team of five tax professionals.
Managing partner, Carmine Papa, said: “These appointments fit well with the increasingly international focus of the firm. Dominic, Keith and Jonathan have ambitious plans to grow their practice areas and their contributions will help the firm to grow from its current income of £22m to its target income of £25m for 2017 and £40m for 2018.”