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January 28, 2009

Region Round-up

• Member firms in Kazakhstan and Australia have joined mid-tier association Kreston International. Finaudit, based in Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, provides audit, accounting and tax services…

PricewaterhouseCoopers UK has promised to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent, cut down air travel and completely stamp out waste that is sent to landfill by 2013…

• Russell Bedford International has increased its coverage in south-east Europe by admitting correspondent Albanian firm ZIG Consulting

• Deloitte Consulting has appointed an IT expert who recently worked in the White House to advise clients on the major transformation opportunities and technology issues facing the US Government…

Africa, Asia, Oceania

• Member firms in Kazakhstan and Australia have joined mid-tier association Kreston International. Finaudit, based in Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, provides audit, accounting and tax services. The firm has 15 professionals and generates fee income of about $500,000, of which 91 percent is derived from audit. Finaudit is the regional representative of the Association of the Taxpayers of Kazakhstan in Almaty. The firm’s clients include state-owned enterprises, subsoil users, manufacturing plants, foreign joint ventures, associated companies and representative offices, and social funds.

Kreston International executive director Jon Lisby said the number of business referrals involving Kazakhstan has been increasing in recent years. “It was essential that we were able to find a suitable firm to represent our members’ interests in this region,” he said.

Kreston has also admitted specialist independent audit and assurance firm Williams Partners Independent Audit Specialists. The firm is based in the Australian state of Queensland.

• Malaysian firm Baker Tilly Monteiro Heng has opened its first firm in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The new office is one of only 21 approved audit firms in Cambodia. The firm will be led by executive partner Andrew Heng, partner Lock Peng Kuan and associate partner Joe Heng.

Peng Kuan said the Cambodian stock exchange is due to open in December 2009.

“We are hoping to capture the pie of the pre-IPO transactions in the privatisations of enterprises as well as the international corporations and in view of the global economic slowdown, it will be good strategy to invest in developing market like Cambodia,” he said.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has opened its first office in Algeria. It is the second Big Four firm to do so in three months. The PwC office will be located in Algiers and will offer audit, legal, tax and consulting services.

Big Four rival Ernst & Young established an office in Algeria in September, offering advisory, audit, legal and finance services. PwC is already present in Morocco and Tunisia and now employs 250 people across the North Africa region.

PricewaterhouseCoopers India (PwC) has acquired operations and human resources consulting services firm ECS. ECS specialises in lean management including lean manufacturing and lean services, six sigma, cost reduction and people and change management.

Five partners and 100 consultants from ECS will join PwC.

Deloitte’s Asia-Pacific IFRS Centre of Excellence in Hong Kong has published illustrative financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2008.

The publication includes a 2008 annual report issued by a Hong Kong listed company and a section that gives a summary of the key changes to Hong Kong Financial Reporting Standards in issue as of 31 December 2008.

There is also a brief update on listing rules and other relevant regulatory requirements. The statements do not reflect early application of new and revised standards, amendments or interpretations that were issued but are not mandatory for 2008.

Europe

Ernst & Young Spain (E&Y) has appointed David Ruiz-Roso as an audit partner. Ruiz-Roso has 17 years of experience, including nine years at E&Y where he has led audit teams in sectors such as energy, entertainment, tourism, technology and food. Staffing figures for E&Y Spain grew 13 percent last year to reach 2,300, including 105 partners.

PricewaterhouseCoopers UK has promised to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent, cut down air travel and completely stamp out waste that is sent to landfill by 2013. The firm made the pledge to a group of 20 suppliers at its second sustainability forum this week.

The firm recently acquired Sustainable Finance Limited, an international advisory firm focused on environmental and social risk management in the financial sector. Sustainable Finance Limited will join PwC’s sustainability and climate change team led by Malcolm Preston.

• Russell Bedford International has increased its coverage in south-east Europe by admitting correspondent Albanian firm ZIG Consulting. The firm, based in the capital Tirana, provides audit, accounting, bookkeeping and legal advisory services. ZIG Consulting is managed by four partners, including senior partner Olsi Ibro, and has four associates and seven junior associates.

Ernst & Young Netherlands and Belgium chair Jan Nooitgedagt will leave the firm on 1 March to become chief financial officer of life insurance and pension group Aegon. Nooitgedagt began his Ernst & Young career in 1980.

He has been chair of the Ernst & Young Netherlands and Belgium board for two-and-a-half years and is also a member of the board of Ernst & Young Europe, Middle East, India and Africa.

• Former chief financial officer of Deutsche Bank Toni di Iorio has joined Ernst & Young as a senior adviser in its Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA) financial services organisation. In his new role, he will be working with the financial services partners focused on the banking and capital markets industry sector in EMEIA.

• KPMG UK head of audit Richard Bennison will be the next chief operating officer of KPMG Europe. Bennison will replace Colin Cook, who is retiring from the firm. Prior to becoming UK head of audit in 2005, Bennison was a senior audit partner in financial services. KPMG Europe subsidiaries operate in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The combined firm has more than 23,000 partners and staff, and recorded combined revenues of more than €3.6 billion ($4.95 billion) in 2008.

• Eleven senior staff from IBM have joined Deloitte UK’s operation excellence advisory services team, including partner Bill Kane and associate partner Geoff Gibbons.

Other IBM members to join the firm are Peter Jordan, Andrew O’Brien, Nicola Milne, Steve Kyle, Peter Brooke, Annika Osterberg, Xavier Muller, Peter Hicks and Bianca Banda. The team provides operations strategy, lean and six sigma services in the context of broad-based operational transformation.

BDO Audiberia has opened an office on the island of Tenerife, a part of the Canary Islands. The office, located in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, will provide audit, risk advisory and internal control, tax planning, commercial and legal advice, corporate finance and management advisory services.

• UK firm Smith & Williamson is to acquire a “significant interest” in Singapore-based Nexia TS. Both firms are long-standing members of global accountancy network Nexia International.

Smith & Williamson has 1,500 staff and reported operating income of £170 million ($252 million) in the year ended 30 April 2008. Nexia TS has 90 staff, including six directors, and operates from offices in Singapore and Shanghai.

Grant Thornton UK reported 25 percent growth in revenue for its financial year ended 30 June 2008, following its merger with professional services firm Robson Rhodes. Pre-tax profits fell 5 percent to £72 million ($105 million) reflecting merger costs and deteriorating economic conditions as a result of the credit crisis, the firm said. The firm recorded a fee income of £394 million compared to its previous year’s figure of £315 million, which did not include Robson Rhodes’ revenue.

• Danish firm MGI Revision has acquired the audit firm Frans Thomsen, Statsautoriseret Revisionsaktieselskab. Frans Thomsen is located in Copenhagen area and has nine full-time employees. MGI Revision senior partner Jan Nygaard said the firm considers this transaction a very important milestone in MGI Revision’s ambitious growth. “With the acquisition, MGI Revision has a total staff of 25 including six partners and a total annual turnover of approximately €3.8 million,” he said.

BDO Stoy Hayward has appointed Ian Cottrell as risk management director in its financial service group. Cottrell joins the UK firm from KPMG where he worked as risk director for 10 years.

North America, Latin America

RSM McGladrey, a wholly-owned subsidiary of H&R Block, is on the hunt for a new leader after Steve Tait revealed he would step down next April. Tait became president of RSM McGladrey in 2003. Prior to joining the firm, he was executive vice president of worldwide sales and client operations for the Gartner Group, a technology research and advisory services provider. Tait said the past six years had been among the most rewarding of his professional life. “From a personal perspective, however, I believe that this is a good time for me to pursue other avenues and to have someone else lead McGladrey on the next phase of its success journey,” he said.

Deloitte Consulting has appointed an IT expert who recently worked in the White House to advise clients on the major transformation opportunities and technology issues facing the US Government. Timothy Young is the former deputy administrator of the Office of E-Government and IT at the Office of Management and Budget, a department in the President’s executive office. He has accepted a position as senior manager with Deloitte’s Federal Government Services group. In his previous position, Young led the implementation of more than 35 government-wide initiatives. He also oversaw the development and implementation of the federal enterprise architecture and IT policies around information access and dissemination, capital planning and investment control, privacy, cybersecurity, identity management and records management.

Alvarez and Marsal (A&M) has appointed Keith Ghezzi as managing director of its healthcare industry group in the US. Ghezzi will be based in the firm’s Washington DC office. He previously founded and worked for Ghezzi and Associates as a turnaround specialist in health organisations.

Guy Sansone, managing director and head of A&M’s healthcare industry group, commented: “Keith’s unique mix of clinical, financial and management expertise has helped him to successfully lead and advise institutions on business strategy, market positioning, service delivery and operational improvements, and enables him to provide a fresh perspective on the challenges currently facing the healthcare sector.”

• Minneapolis firm Froehling Anderson has joined AGN International. Froehling Anderson has 10 partners and 44 staff. It provides business consulting, tax and accounting services to manufacturers, distributors, commercial real estate and construction companies, and professional service organisations. Managing partner Douglas Galka will join the board of directors of AGN North America.

• MGI’s New York based member firm, Graf Repetti & Co, has merged with fellow New York firm Marx, Lange, Gutterman. Graf Repetti & Co offers audit, tax, business consulting and litigation support services from its offices in New York City and Long Island. Marx, Lange, Gutterman will help strengthen the firm’s key industry sectors, including real estate, professional practices and financial services, chief operating officer John Repetti said.

• Luc Villeneuve is to take over as president of Samson Bélair/Deloitte & Touche, Deloitte’s practice in Quebec, Canada. Villeneuve will replace Denis Boivin who announced his retirement after 36 years at the firm, including nine years as president.

Villeneuve has worked as a partner since 1985 and became part of Deloitte’s board of directors in 2007. Deloitte employs 1,900 people in Quebec, which represents a quarter of the firm’s Canadian workforce.

• Praxity US member firm BKD has acquired Arkansas-based firm Lundy Allard & Co to further expand its services in the area. Partner Mark Lundy, three professionals and 10 staff from Lundy Allard & Co will join BKD, bringing an estimated $1.2 million of revenue to the firm. BKD currently has 31 offices in 12 states including three offices in Fort Smith, Little Rock and Pine Bluff, Arkansas. It has more than 2,000 personnel and about 250 partners.

• Leading Edge Alliance US member firms Gray CPA and Freed Maxick & Battaglia have merged, effective from 1 January 2009. Freed Maxick Battaglia is a regional firm in New York State, while Grey CPA was based in Rochester, New York. The combined firm is now operating as Freed Maxick Battaglia. The merger will expand the governmental and tax practices at Freed Maxick, which represent two of the firm’s leading service areas, and increase staff numbers to 260 people.

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