Practice – Defections hit Moores Rowland

Moores Rowland denied this week that a series of defections from its Edinburgh office to local firm Scott Oswald would seriously hit profits in its Scottish practice.

Five staff walked out on the Group A firm, including almost its entire tax advice team, cutting the number of partners from four to two. The firm also faced the prospect of a severe cut in fees, following claims by the defectors that several key clients had switched allegiance to Scott Oswald.

A Moores Rowland spokeswoman said the Edinburgh office moved quickly to replace leaving staff and would continue to offer a full range of services with the support of its Glasgow office. Patricia Reekie was named as the new managing partner in Edinburgh.

Former managing partner Ronnie Ludwig, who led the exodus after 18 years with Moores Rowland, said he moved to join a dynamic team. ‘I wanted to be in a proactive firm and be surrounded by partners with enthusiasm and drive.’

Ludwig was due to take up the position of national tax marketing partner before he quit, but denied rumours that a rift with executives running the national firm forced him out.

He was joined by audit partner Graham Burden, senior tax manager Fiona Donaldson, personal tax specialist Wendy Johnston and computer systems specialist Mark Casson.

Bill Donaldson, managing partner of Scott Oswald, said Moores Rowland was unlikely to be the last Group A firm to suffer defections. ‘We’re growing at 20%, regardless of the Moores Rowland situation. Group A firms, though, have too many partners and not a very good bottom line,’ he said.

He said his move and the takeover of the Edinburgh office of BDO Stoy Hayward last year by local firm The McCabe Partnership had set the trend.

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