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March 30, 2009

Region Round-up

Kreston International has added Romanian firm BG Conta to its network…

PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada has merged with Edmonton-based professional services firm APP & Associates…

Grant Thornton US has launched hedge fund internal control, governance and regulatory compliance services to provide greater transparency for investors….

Deloitte Balkans has appointed Pietter Wessel as tax partner specialising in VAT….

World

Kreston International has added Romanian firm BG Conta to its network. BG Conta was founded by George Bilteanu in 1996, and has four partners and 40 staff. The firm claims to be a top eight firm and provides audit, tax, consulting, internal audit, outsourced accounting and payroll services.

PricewaterhouseCoopers China (PwC) has opened its 14th Chinese branch in the city of Xiamen in the south eastern Fujian Province. Eileen Liang has been appointed the Xiamen branch lead partner.

“Xiamen is undergoing an industrial optimisation with many highly-potential local companies,” Liang said. “The timing of PwC’s entrance into the Xiamen market indicates the firm’s willingness to help Xiamen-based businesses to stand up to the current economic situation.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada has merged with Edmonton-based professional services firm APP & Associates. Keshav Pareek and Dwayne Pohranychny have joined the firm as partners. APP staff will be based in PwC’s Edmonton offices and will focus on private company clients ranging from start-ups to larger organisations.

Alvarez and Marsal (A&M) has strengthened its European Financial Advisory Services (FIAS) team by hiring nine advisers. The appointments follow A&M’s strategy of expanding its pan-European FIAS team as a response to the increased demand for restructuring support and guidance by financial institutions. Eight of the appointments come from a banking background while Aljosja van Dorssen had previously worked at A&M Netherlands, McKinsey and Andersen Consulting.

Grant Thornton US has launched hedge fund internal control, governance and regulatory compliance services to provide greater transparency for investors. The services include investment adviser readiness assessment, internal control development and testing, regulatory compliance, valuation and FAS 157 compliance, and independent attestation and opinions on internal controls. Grant Thornton said these services will help funds to find and retain investors and will assist them prepare for the new Hedge Fund Transparency Bill.

• Leading Edge Alliance Scottish member firm Johnston Carmichael has merged with Edinburgh-based Duncan Young & Company. Duncan Young & Company was founded in 1989 and has 23 staff. Johnston Carmichael has 10 offices throughout Scotland and employs 450 people. Morris Duncan, Alan Young and Ian Roy will become partners as a result of the merger.

Deloitte Spain has appointed Luis Fernando Guerra as head of its tax and legal practice. Guerra replaces Luis Crespo after his four-year term ended. Guerra started his career at Arthur Andersen and in 2004 joined Deloitte as head of tax advisory services. The firm’s tax and legal division grew 25 percent and generated revenue of €50.2 million ($68.7 million) in its most recent financial year.

• One of Australia’s largest banks has invested in a 10 percent stake of Australian-based consolidator WHK Group as part of a strategic partnership. WHK will have access to the products, services and resources of a Macquarie Bank subsidiary to support the implementation of the firm’s ‘Total Financial Solutions’ strategy. Macquarie Bank will provide funds to support WHK’s growth through convertible notes worth A$30 million ($20 million) that can be converted into shares within five years.

Deloitte China is to launch an unpaid leave programme in April to save costs in response to the economic downturn. According to an email sent by the firm’s human resources department, all employees in China are required to participate in the personal leave programme, which means taking four days leave each month. The programme will be reviewed in October by Deloitte’s management team but may extend into 2010. In December 2008, Ernst & Young China offered 9,000 Chinese staff up to one month voluntary unpaid leave before 30 June through its leave of absence programme. The firm said 90 percent of staff had joined the scheme.

Ernst & Young UK (E&Y) is continuing to expand its tax practice despite the economic downturn. The firm recruited 22 new tax partners in the past 12 months, including Duncan Whitecross, Ted Keen, Alison Conley, Caspar Noble, Mandy Love and Gillian Wild from Big Four competitors. Andrew Martel and Stephen Hoyle are the newest partners and both will be based in E&Y’s European, Middle East, India and Africa financial services office in London.

• US Baker Tilly member Cherry, Bekaert & Holland has expanded into South Florida by merging with McKean, Paul, Chrycy, Fletcher & Company (MPCF). MPCF is based in Miami and offers services in real estate, technology, employee benefit plans, high-end tax consulting, fraud and forensic advisory services.

• In Australia, Baker Tilly Pitcher Partners Association has combined with Brisbane-based accounting firm Johnston Rorke. Established in 1974, Johnston Rorke has 15 partners and more than 130 staff, providing accounting, audit, taxation and advisory services.

Baker Tilly International has appointed Bill Hogan as director of taxation. Hogan is the former chair of Baker Tilly International’s tax steering committee and partner of the network’s UK member firm. Tax services generated $710 million across the international network in 2008, which represents 24 percent of its total revenue. The appointment takes effect from 1 April 2009.

Russell Bedford International has admitted InterACM Group as its correspondent firm in Lebanon. InterACM was founded in 1993 and recently opened a new head office in Beirut. The firm provides audit, tax and accounting services and is licensed by the Lebanese Association of Certified Public Accountants to perform audits on all organisations except financial institutions.

KPMG US has appointed Shawn Hessing as national managing partner of the firm’s private equity group. Hessing will lead cross-functional teams of audit, tax and advisory to help private equity firms in cross border mergers, acquisitions, strategic alliances, joint ventures, strategies of exits, operational efficiencies and cash generating options for their funds and portfolio companies.

Deloitte Balkans has appointed Pietter Wessel as tax partner specialising in VAT. Wessel will be based in Bucharest, Romania but will be covering the whole Balkans region, which includes Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova Republic, Albania and Kosovo. He will concentrate on consolidating the firm’s VAT practice.

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