Partners get axe in PwC clearout.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the country’s largest accountancy firm, is to cut 10% of its 1,100 UK partners despite initial denials that it would do so and assertions that new partners will join.

Kieran Poynter, UK senior partner, said: ‘We had too many partners in certain areas. A number will therefore be leaving us.

‘We operate in a dynamic environment which means we have to be constantly re-inventing ourselves to meet the developing needs of our clients and the career aspirations of our people,’ added Poynter.

But he said the firm was ‘looking forward to a large number of new partners joining the partnership in the coming year’.

The cuts follows other redundancies – particularly in its insolvency operations – in the wake of the 1998 merger between Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand which has resulted in the overlaps.

A spokesman for PwC in the US said: ‘Those cuts in the UK were dictated by local market needs. There is no global mandate for such cuts.’

The partner clearout is taking place across the country with no specific focus on any particular business area or region. No non-parter staff in the UK are expected to be hit by the cuts. ‘We use a pooling system. Partners share staff,’ said the UK spokesman.

PwC last year failed in attempts to sell its consultancy arm to Hewlett-Packard.

Rival firms have denied moves to scale down. A Deloitte & Touche spokesman said: ‘We haven’t any plans to cut back at all. Quite the contrary. We are actively recruiting to fuel growth.’

KPMG said: ‘We are looking to increase partner and staff numbers by around 6% this year. We had a record increase in partners last year.’

For a story on PwC attempts to sell its US mergers arm visit Practice/1116371.

GLOBAL RESULTS – BUT NO UK FIGURES PricewaterhouseCoopers last week announced global fee income of $21.5bn (£14.7bn) for the year up to 30 June 2000, an increase of 15% over the previous year. It does not publish separate UK results. The firm said North American income grew by 13% to $9.6bn, Asia-Pacific by 23% to $2.2bn and Europe, Middle East & Africa was up 16% to $8.8bn. Weak economic conditions in South America limited growth to $827m, up only 5.3%.

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