Takeover of KPMG’s Norwich office may set national trend for Big Five exodus

David McDonnel said the Big Five are structuring their work around serving very large clients which results in contraction to metropolitan centres like London, Manchester and Birmingham.

The result, he believes, could be the Big Five reducing regional offices and leaving rich pickings for smaller mid-tier firms willing to concentrate on small owner-managed businesses.

He said: ‘I hope we have triggered a trend. If firms are withdrawing I would regard that as an opportunity.’

He pointed out contraction may leave partners in regional centres of the Big Five feeling vulnerable if their office’s business does not fit the general profile of the firm.

McDonnel is open about Grant Thornton’s strategy of growth through acquisition and believes the take over of the KPMG office, its four partners and 60 staff, may be the first of its kind.

Partners at the Norwich base, which has a turnover of around £3.5m, have been keen to make clear the take over does not represent a ‘defection’ but came about as a result of a mutual agreement between the two firms.

Financial details of the deal remain confidential, but it leaves PwC as the only Big five representative remaining in Norwich.

KPMG’s Norwich office taken over by Grant Thornton

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