Deloitte Follows Competitors Into Legal Market in UK

Deloitte is expanding its legal services offering in the UK, following similar moves by PwC, KPMG and EY to edge in on the territory of traditional law firms, The Financial Times of London reported.

“There is room [in the market] for a lot of players and our competitors in the Big 4 are already operating in this space,” said Matt Ellis, managing partner for tax and legal at Deloitte, according to the newspaper.

The Big 4’s legal divisions are already larger than most law firms, but the profession’s leading law firms earn much more. The Financial Times noted that Latham & Watkins in the U.S., for example, had revenues of $2.8 billion in 2016, while PwC earned $500 million from legal services in the same year, and Deloitte earned $250 million.

As part of its plan, Deloitte is applying for an alternative business structure license, introduced as part of the 2007 Legal Services Act, which allowed non-lawyers to own and run legal services.

Deloitte is expected to focus on using technology to speed up routine legal work. “We’re planning to use our technology and advisory skills to transform legal services and help address many of the challenges lawyers . . . are facing in today’s increasingly complex legal environment,” Ellis said. Although he added that Deloitte was not seeking to replicate a traditional law firm, he acknowledged that its legal offering “may threaten some players.”

Several observers said that the Big 4 may be interested in a mid-tier law firm if it ran into financial trouble. Lee Ranson, co-chief executive of law firm Eversheds Sutherland, predicted that at least one of the Big 4 would make such a takeover move in the next three years. “In a significant number of areas and geographies, they are already our competitors,” he added.

Cohen & Company Opens Downtown Chicago Office, Admits Partners

Cleveland-based Cohen & Company (FY17 net revenue of $67 million) admitted new partners and opened a new office in Chicago.

Vince Curttright

Vince Curttright

The new office is led by Vince Curttright, an audit partner formerly with a large, national firm. Curttright has more than 15 years of experience specializing in domestic and offshore investment partnerships and companies, registered investment advisers and proprietary trading firms. His clients spanned both public and private entities in the financial services industry, and have ranged from start-ups to multi-billion dollar entities with a variety of trading strategies, including commodity funds, long and short equity, private equity, cryptoassets, derivative instruments and fixed income.

“The next logical step in our growth strategy was to solidify our presence in the Chicago area. With public and private fund clients already in Chicago, being present in the marketplace allows us to provide a deeper level of service and expertise. Chicago makes perfect sense for us – it’s a stronghold for the financial markets specifically in the alternative investment area, and that is a major focus for Cohen & Company,” says Chris Bellamy, co-president, investment industry services.

Josh Lefcowitz

Josh Lefcowitz

Josh Lefcowitz was admitted as partner in the valuation practice. He has more than 15 years of public accounting experience providing valuation, forensic accounting and dispute advisory services for a wide array of purposes. Lefcowitz has experience serving clients across a range of industry sectors, including investment fund. In addition, he has experience related to business valuations and other services associated with intangible assets, purchase price allocations, intellectual property, oil and natural gas rights, and goodwill impairment testing. Lefcowitz will support the firm’s private company and investment industry clients, and will be located in the Pittsburgh office.

Bill Yahara

Bill Yahara

Bill Yahara joins the firm’s New York office as a tax director, with more than 15 years of public accounting experience working on clients in the alternative investment industry. Also joining the New York office is John Passantino as a senior audit manager. Passantino’s prior experience with a national firm focused on hedge funds, private equity funds, funds of funds, management companies and broker-dealers.

Furthering the development of the tax services team in the Milwaukee office is Jim Rosing, tax manager, with experience in both public accounting and tax administration services for hedge funds, mutual funds and private equity funds, with a focus on international tax issues.

“We identified the Chicago market, private equity and valuation as strategic growth opportunities for the firm. Working together as a cohesive team, we were able to identify the right resources that are the right fit for our clients and our firm,” says Corey McLaughlin, co-president, investment industry services.

McDonald Named Among the ‘Ones to Watch’

Celeste McDonald

Celeste McDonald

Celeste McDonald, associate director, of Baton Rouge, La.-based Postlethwaite & Netterville (FY17 net revenue of $58.3 million), has been named one of the Ones to Watch by City Business.

McDonald is an associate director in the P&N accounting and assurance services group. She works with clients ranging from large, public companies to small, private operations providing audit and consultation services. She performs financial statement audits and has several years of experience in planning and executing internal and compliance audits.

View the full list of the 2018 Ones to Watch in the accounting industry.

Friedman Admits Four to Partner, Nine to Principal

New York-based Friedman LLP (FY16 net revenue of $94 million) admitted four to partner and nine to principal, effective Jan. 1. These professionals specialize in a wide array of areas. They are based across the New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey offices.

Friedman’s newest partners include:

  • Corrie Cristaldi, Marlton, N.J., and Linwood, N.J.
  • Marie DeCicco, Philadelphia
  • Jo Anna Fellon, East Hanover, N.J.
  • Willem van der Berg, Linwood and Marlton

View the full list here.

EY Acquires RPR Partners

RPR Partners of San Diego has joined the private client services practice of New York-based EY (FY16 gross revenue of $11.2 billion). RPR founders and co-directors Robert Regnery and Kenneth Van Damme II, both previous EY professionals, are returning to the firm after having built their independent tax advisory practice.

“The addition of this team reflects our commitment to growing strategic areas with unmatched knowledge to meet each of our clients’ needs and to contribute to our EY Global family business center of excellence,” says Kate Barton, EY Americas vice chair of tax services.”

Regnery has 30 years of experience advising clients including private and public companies. He started his career in Chicago with EY before moving to San Diego. After nearly ten years with the real estate practices of EY and Kenneth Leventhal, Regnery joined Peterson & Co. where he led both the real estate group and the entrepreneurial services group before forming RPR Partners with Van Damme.

“Having previously worked at EY, Ken and I know that EY professionals strive to be trusted business advisors to their clients,” says Regnery. “They embrace our philosophy of addressing each client’s unique needs and helping organizations – and people – succeed in today’s complex and changing environment.”

Van Damme has more than 27 years of tax advisory experience in the real estate industry and with high net worth individuals. Prior to forming RPR Partners, he had been EY’s real estate tax compliance practice area leader for southern California.

“This moment in US tax policy is likely to impact all of our clients, and we now have access to incredible resources to support them. As part of the EY team, we can also offer clients broader, long-term support for generational wealth management strategies and family business transactions,” says Van Damme.

Grassi & Co. Launches New Affiliate, Grassi Healthcare Advisors

New York-based Grassi & Co. (FY17 net revenue of $59.6 million) launched Grassi Healthcare Advisors LLC (GHA), which will be led by CEO Joseph Tomaino, previously the principal of health care transformation consulting of Grassi & Co. for the last three years.

Joseph Tomaino

Joseph Tomaino

Tomaino has more than 30 years of health care management experience working in the not-for-profit, for-profit and government-sponsored segments. He has worked with provider organizations and payers across the U.S. as an architect of value based care – improving clinical effectiveness and resource efficiency. Tomaino uses data to analyze populations being served as well as an organization’s effectiveness, and then applies innovative structure and program designs to improve performance, helping clients transform to successfully operate in managed care and accountable care reimbursement environments.

In the current accountable-care health care environment, medical providers and health care organizations are transitioning from a transactional fee-for-service business model, to a value-based payment model.

“With the rapid pace of change businesses experience today, the creation of Grassi Healthcare Advisors LLC is a necessity in helping our clients successfully integrate into this value-based payment model,” says Louis Grassi, MP and CEO. “I have every confidence that Joseph and his team of experts are at the forefront of the issues facing the health care industry and will help position our clients for continued success and growth.”

The GHA team will also include Stephanie Fiedler as the director of revenue advisory; Geri Gregor, a partner in business advisory; Joseph Micara, director of business development; and Alicia Shickle, senior manager.

Grant Thornton Names Swonk as Chief Economist

Diane Swonk

Diane Swonk

Diane Swonk has joined Chicago-based Grant Thornton (FY16 net revenue of $1.7 billion) as chief economist. Swonk will enhance client services with her economic forecasting acumen and experience advising U.S. policy makers, central banks, multinational corporations and C-suite teams.

Swonk has worked with a range of companies throughout her career, most recently with her private consulting firm, DS Economics. Swonk and her team have transitioned to Grant Thornton from DS Economics.

“Businesses today are undergoing a huge amount of change,” says Grant Thornton CEO Mike McGuire. “Companies need sharp and timely economic insights to succeed – the very insights that have made Diane so well known. With her knowledge and experience across multiple sectors, including the high-growth middle market, Diane and her team complement our forward-thinking approach to solving clients’ problems.”

“We are looking forward to collaborating with the firm’s industry and policy leaders to help Grant Thornton’s clients move forward with confidence,” says Swonk. “It’s an extraordinary opportunity to provide strategic advice and practical solutions to a spectrum of businesses in an increasingly complex economic environment.”

Eide Bailly to Acquire France Basterrechea Wagner & Bunn

Fargo, N.D.-based Eide Bailly (FY17 net revenue of $269.4 million) will acquire France Basterrechea Wagner & Bunn of Gooding, Idaho, effective May 14, 2018. France Basterrechea Wagner & Bunn will bring four partners and 12 staff and will move into a new space in Twin Falls, Idaho.

“Gooding has been a great place to grow, and we’ll continue to serve clients here with a level of dedication and expertise that will only get better,” says Steve France, MP of France Basterrechea Wagner & Bunn. “Moving to Twin Falls is going to greatly increase the opportunities for both our clients and our staff. We will have the resources and solutions to help our clients in nearly every aspect of their business, no matter where they are in their journey. And we’ll now be able to recruit the best talent and offer our staff the ability to specialize and follow their passions in their careers.”

“France Basterrechea Wagner & Bunn has a dedication to client service and an outstanding culture that mirrors closely with our own. This union will give businesses in the region more access to services that will help them grow and reach their goals.” says Eide Bailly MP and CEO Dave Stende.

Katz Sapper & Miller Admits New Partners

Mark Curcio

Mark Curcio

Indianapolis-based Katz Sapper & Miller (FY16 net revenue of $72.4 million) admitted four new partners.

Mark Curcio is the New York office leader and a member of the business advisory group. He works with clients across multiple industries to help them minimize tax liabilities and ensure tax compliance. Curcio specializes in helping clients navigate and thoroughly address complex multistate tax issues, including individual residency and nexus issues.

Casse Tate

Casse Tate

Casse Tate is a member of the business advisory group. She guides clients through tax planning and compliance issues as well as provides general consulting services to ensure they are fully equipped to make advantageous financial decisions. Tate works with companies across multiple industries including not-for-profit, technology and construction.

Chad Halstead

Chad Halstead

Chad Halstead is a member of the tax services group. With a strong background in analytical research and technical review of federal tax issues, Halstead identifies innovative solutions to minimize taxes for his clients. He regularly guides clients through the development and implementation of tax structures from which government incentives can be received on a tax-free or tax-deferred basis.

Matthew Cohen

Matthew Cohen

Matthew Cohen is the New York office audit and assurance leader. Experienced in performing financial statement audits, reviews, and compilations, Cohen ensures the accuracy and completeness of businesses’ financial reporting. He works with clients in a wide variety of industries, including not-for-profit, financial services, manufacturing and distribution, hospitality, arts and culture, and professional services.

Crowe Horwath to Acquire TRU8

Effective Jan. 31, Chicago-based Crowe Horwath (FY17 net revenue of $809.5 million) will acquire TRU8 Solutions, a risk consulting firm.

TRU8 brings specialized knowledge and experience in the RSA Archer platform, a leading governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) technology system. TRU8’s client base includes large organizations in highly regulated industries, including finance, electronic exchanges, government and energy.

“Today’s market expects deep knowledge of GRC technology to accompany risk management expertise,” says Jim Powers, Crowe CEO. “TRU8’s RSA Archer specialization will enable our clients to better leverage data and gain more predictive insight, providing them with lasting value.”

“Managing risk is a top priority for CEOs and their boards, because of the real damage we’re seeing to reputation, share price and revenue,” says Terry Dolce, TRU8 CEO. “Leveraging TRU8’s deep specialization in RSA Archer will allow our team to bring award-winning GRC technology expertise to Crowe’s clients worldwide.”