Baker Tilly International member firms
have defected to a rival network due to a branding conflict with
Baker Tilly’s largest US member.

Chicago-based Miller Cooper and
Indianapolis-based Katz, Sapper & Miller joined Nexia
International, following the lead of Rehmann late last year. All
three entities add annual revenue in the region of $150 million and
almost 1,000 professional staff to Nexia’s US representation.

The moves are a fall out from the rebranding
of Baker Tilly’s largest US firm, Virchow Krause, which will adopt
the exclusive Baker Tilly brand in the country in June.

Baker Tilly president and chief executive
Geoff Barnes said he does not anticipate any more firms leaving the
network.

“[The three firms] reviewed their strategy
going forward and they believe in the markets in which they
operate, Detroit and Chicago, that having one of our member firms
with a Baker Tilly name would put them at a disadvantage,” Barnes
said.

He added that Baker Tilly is a “considerable
way down the path” to adding a number of new US firms with
aggregate revenue well above $100 million.

Nexia International North and Central America
chairman Larry Chastang said the timing was fortunate.

“They were reaching out at that point in time
and we were looking in the area at the same time,” Chastang
said.

Chastang said the firms fill some important
geographic gaps for the network. Other locations Nexia is now
targeting include the western states.

In a recent International Accounting
Bulletin
US survey, Baker Tilly International was the
fourth-largest group of international firms, with combined fee
income of $1.25 billion, while Nexia International was the 10th
largest network with combined fee income of $645 million.

MEMBERSHIP ADDITIONS

New Nexia firms

Firm

Fee income 2008 ($m)

Partners/professionals/ total
staff

Rehmann

74

120/542/604

Katz, Sapper & Miller

46

35/225/275

Miller Cooper

Unavailable

26/175/200

Source: Nexia International