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April 30, 2008

Region round-up

• Deloitte New Zealand has admitted three new partners…

• UK-based South African chartered accountants have established a Thuthuka Bursary Fund…

•Dutch professional services firm KroeseWevers has agreed to acquire the Deloitte Netherlands office in Doetinchem…

• Alvarez & Marsal has launched a new financial institutions advisory group…

Asia-Pacific

Deloitte New Zealand has admitted three new partners, bringing the firm’s number of full equity partners to 77.

Brendan Lyon, who joined the firm in 2004, will become a partner in the risk and assurance team. He specialises in working with medium-sized businesses and in IFRS transition.

Shari Carter, who has 12 years of experience with Deloitte, will be a partner in the accounting and advisory team, providing business and financial advice to a diverse range of clients from professional services firms through to agribusiness.

Richard Kirkland, who has been with Deloitte since 2000, will be a partner in the enterprise risk services team. He is an expert on the new banking capital regime.

• Australian consolidator WHK Group has acquired four new businesses under ‘tuck-in’ arrangements with existing member firms.

The combined acquisitions bring A$5.5 million ($5.2 million) in annual revenue to the stock exchange-listed member of Horwath International.

Accounting firm Farrar & Co, which has annual revenue of A$2 million, merged with WHK Horwath Sydney. Another firm, Hintons, which has annual revenue of A$1.7 million, merged with New Zealand firm WHK West Yates.

Insurance practice Deakin Insurance Services, with annual revenue of A$800,000, merged with Victorian firm WHK Murray Darling; and accountants Needham Ashley & Associates, with A$1 million in annual revenue, merged with Victorian firm WHK Armitage Downie.

Ernst & Young Australia (E&Y) and a group of influential chief financial officers have produced a guide to help companies prepare non-statutory reports.

The Big Four firm noted a growing trend for Australian companies to produce narrative-based reports because annual reports were becoming too complex.

Reporting to shareholders: A good practice guide provides “practical guidance to support the annual shareholder reporting process, with the focus on highlighting material business issues in a consistent manner that is understandable to all shareholders”.

Deloitte Australia’s consulting practice has begun offering professional services via an online portal called Deloitte Digital, which accesses a range of financial tools, online training, compliance and HR solutions. The portal includes an online anti-money laundering product, a programme for managing documents for litigation and large legal actions, a leadership academy through Harvard and Melbourne Universities and a variety of e-learning tools and self-assessment surveys.

Deloitte Consulting managing partner Gerhard Vorster said: “It’s hard to imagine a business not impacted by the internet, yet to a large extent professional services have not embraced the business development opportunities that the digital economy affords. Offering our services online will appeal to both our top end of town clients and the middle market as well as smaller businesses, which will now gain access to Deloitte thinking and [intellectual property].”

The portal is currently for users registered in Australia.

Africa, Middle East, South Asia

• UK-based South African chartered accountants have established a Thuthuka Bursary Fund. More than 2,300 UK-based chartered accountants are members of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), which developed the Thuthuka programme to provide education assistance to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The fund will also provide bursary funding to promising students who might otherwise struggle to obtain higher education.

SAICA executive president Ignatius Sehoole commented: “As much as it hurts, it has to be acknowledged that not all our members currently living abroad will return home. Yet their loyalty to the country that nurtured them is such that they are prepared to go the extra mile to contribute something back into the profession in South Africa.”

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) has adopted the revised International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) Code of Ethics with some amendments.

In announcing the move, the ICAP noted: “[The] replacement of Section 9 (now Section 290) of ICAP Code relating to independence, which is one of the significant changes in the revised IFAC Code, was already approved and implemented by the [ICAP] council in its 171st meeting held on 29 April 2005.

In the revised IFAC Code, there is no significant change in the section relating to independence. The code is effective for Pakistani chartered accountants on 1 January 2009. Section 290 is applicable to assurance engagements when the assurance report is dated on or after 1 January 2009.

• The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Financial Services Board of South Africa (FSB).

The signing took place between DFSA chief executive David Knott and FSB executive officer Rob Barrow during the annual conference of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) in Paris recently. Knott said: “The Financial Services Board of South Africa is a valued member of IOSCO and a leading participant in the African and Middle East region, of which the DFSA is also a member. Both the FSB and the DFSA are signatories to the IOSCO Multilateral MoU, having satisfied the highest standards of co-operation and assistance among IOSCO members.”

• The first distance learning centre to offer the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) accounting qualification has opened in Cape Town, South Africa. The UK-based AAT’s accounting qualification is offered at centres in Cape Town, Centurion and Johannesburg. However, the distance for many students to get to these centres previously imposed a physical barrier to being able to study the AAT. According to the AAT, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants has welcomed the AAT offering its diploma in South Africa to help fill a gap in the accounting technician market.

Europe

Dutch professional services firm KroeseWevers has agreed to acquire the Deloitte Netherlands office in Doetinchem. KroeseWevers, a Nexia International member with about 350 employees, acquired the Deloitte branch in Emmen in October last year.

According to the Big Four firm, the sale of the offices is part of a strategy to centralise its offices, not an indication it is leaving the SME market. Deloitte Netherlands director Cees de Boer said the Big Four firm will continue to serve the SME market in Doetinchem from its full service offices.

PricewaterhouseCoopers UK (PwC) has unveiled the composition of its new executive board. James Chalmers will be responsible for strategy and talent, Kevin Ellis will head advisory and Owen Jonathan will be general counsel. Barry Marshall is the new head of tax, Kevin Nicholson will lead regions, Paul Rawlinson is in charge of markets, Richard Sexton will head assurance and Keith Tilson will become chief financial officer.

The appointments follow the election of Ian Powell as PwC’s next chair and senior partner, and Richard Collier-Keywood as the firm’s new managing partner. Powell said: “There are a number of new roles and individuals on the board and I believe the balance of experience, creativity, skill and personality will further enhance our strategy for growth as we continue to bring innovative thinking to our clients, invest in our people and support the wider community.” The appointments are effective from July.

• Helen Brand will be the next chief executive of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), replacing Allen Blewitt on 1 September 2008. Brand, 43, is currently the ACCA managing director of strategy and development. She joined the global accountancy body in 1996. Commenting on her appointment, which followed an international four-month search, she said it is to the “credit of the organisation’s succession planning that the new CEO could be recruited from within its own ranks.” Blewitt is leaving the ACCA to return to Australia after five years based at the association’s London headquarters.

KPMG UK has been awarded top-tier recognition for its commitment to responsible business practice in the Business in the Community (BITC) annual corporate responsibility index. The BITC corporate responsibility index measures a company’s performance on how it is integrating corporate responsibility within its core business practices and on its management performance across the key areas of environment, workplace, community and marketplace. KPMG UK achieved top scores for a second consecutive year.

Deloitte UK has been named the best graduate employer in finance and professional services at the Target National Graduate Recruiter Awards, taking the award from PricewaterhouseCoopers UK (PwC), which has held top spot for the past three years. The awards are based on an annual survey of 30,000 students in the UK. The students were asked to vote for their recruiter of choice across several industries. Also on the finance and professional services shortlist were PwC, KPMG UK, Ernst & Young UK, HSBC and Barclays.

North America, Latin America

Grant Thornton US has promoted Melissa Koeppel to office managing partner in its Wisconsin practice, which includes offices in Milwaukee, Madison and Appleton. Koeppel will become the only female serving as office managing partner of a national accounting firm in the state of Wisconsin. Previously, Koeppel served as Grant Thornton’s Wisconsin audit practice leader. Her new position is effective immediately.

• A schedule has been announced for the completion of a US and Canadian mutual recognition process agreement aimed at facilitating discussions between the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The process agreement could provide Canadian financial service providers with greater freedom to operate in the US under Canadian regulatory oversight, and vice versa. The process agreement should conclude this month.

• The US Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a former partner at Ernst & Young US (E&Y), his friend, and his friend’s father in an insider trading scheme that resulted in nearly $600,000 in illicit profits. The charge alleged that from summer 2006 through to the autumn of 2007, James Gansman, a lawyer and former partner in E&Y’s transaction advisory services department in New York, tipped his friend Donna Murdoch about the identities of at least seven different potential acquisitions of clients who sought valuation services from his firm. Gansman resigned from E&Y on 19 October 2007. According to the SEC complaint, Murdoch used the non-public information to trade in the securities of the target companies, to tip her father, who also traded, and to make recommendations to two others.

E&Y told the International Accounting Bulletin: “The government alleges that Mr Gansman misappropriated confidential information from Ernst & Young about our clients. We have co-operated fully with the government throughout its investigation.”

Alvarez & Marsal has launched a new financial institutions advisory group. The group will be led by Samuel Golden, a former senior official with the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, who has been appointed as managing director. Alvarez & Marsal said Golden has expertise in troubled bank remediation, crisis and interim management, regulatory compliance and enforcement, and risk management.

• William Balhoff has been appointed as the new managing director and chief executive of US Louisiana-based firm Postlethwaite & Netterville (P&N). Balhoff joined the Leading Edge Alliance member in 1976 and became a director in 1986. He also recently served on the board of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. In addition to Balhoff’s appointment, P&N appointed Ralph Stephens, Joey Richard, David Moore and George Balhoff to the executive committee. The firm has 270 employees and offices in Baton Rouge, Metairie, New Orleans, Donaldsonville, Gonzales, Covington, St Francisville, Postlethwaite and Netterville.

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