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KPMG awarded multi-disciplinary licence

THE FIRST Big Four multi-disciplinary license has been issued to KPMG, opening the door for the firm to bolster the legal services it provides.

KPMG has been awarded an alternative business structure (ABS) licence by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority.

The firm, which already operates with more than 50 lawyers and immigration specialists, is aiming to “enhance” and increase the services it offers to clients, according to UK chairman Simon Collins.

However, he is keen to distance the firm’s move as one of setting up a separate legal practice. “To be clear, we have absolutely no plans to develop any kind of standalone legal practice,” said Collins.

“The new regulatory regime, designed to open up the provision of professional services across the sector, allows us to extend our legal services provision where we have a proven and successful track record.”

The move is a different strategy to that taken by PwC. KPMG’s rival has long maintained a substantial legal arm, PwC Legal; an entity which itself gained ABS status at the start of the year, which allowed PwC to own the legal practice and invest into it.

KPMG has had non-practising solicitors working in its tax and pensions practice for the last decade, providing legal advice primarily in the area of tax litigation, which was the historic focus of the team. The team has expanded to in recent years to cover corporate, commercial, immigration and employment matters, with the practice planning to move into other areas where clients want an integrated service.

Richard Collins, SRA executive director, said: “The vehicle KPMG has created to deliver a range of professional services in a one-stop shop is exactly the kind of entity envisaged when the Legal Services Act was introduced. We believe ABSs of this type will benefit consumers by providing greater competition in the provision of legal services, greater opportunities to access holistic services, and potential reductions in cost by services being made available in one place.”

The partners leading legal services at KPMG are: Amanda Brown, who leads the tax litigation practice, David White, who heads the corporate and commercial team, Punam Birly, who leads the employment and immigration group, and Nick Roome, who joined the firm in May this year and heads up KPMG’s legal services business in the north.

Gary Harley, partner responsible for the roll out of KPMG’s expanded legal services business under the ABS, said the practice was now looking to recruit, with its current team likely to generate £10m in revenues in 2014.

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