Senior figures at the office are making it clear the move does not constitute a defection. They say the takeover, which leaves PricewaterhouseCoopers as the only Big Five firm in the city, was given the all-clear by KPMG’s head office.
The move will consolidate Grant Thornton’s position in the region where it already has offices at Ipswich, Bury and Cambridge and confirms its interest in making ‘strategic acquisitions’.
The firm also sees the take over as extending its commitment to the owner-managed business sector.
Mike Burrows, office managing partner, said: ‘Norwich is pretty unique in that the majority of clients are locally based businesses with very few large businesses, and that sat uncomfortably in the KPMG mould.’So KPMG said we could start talking to other firms.’
Some of the Norwich business will be retained by KPMG including corporate recovery and public sector work. Staff were informed of the change this morning though the takeover was yesterday.
The loss of the KPMG’s office follows the removal of other Big Five firm Ernst and Young from Norwich prompting speculation that a lack of corporate finance work is causing the flight. PricewaterhouseCoopers is now the only Big Five firm to have an office in the city.
‘We’re extremely positive about the city. We see less and less of the Big Five over the last few years. But there is a strong SME community here. We’re picking up corporate finance work, but not at a level that the Big Five are after, perhaps,’ said Richard Sullivan, partner with 20-partner firm Lovewell Blake which has a main office in the city.
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