KPMG Germany has been elected top Transactions Services and Restructuring & Turnaround advisor. This result has been published lately by the German magazine ManagerMagazin. The exclusive study was conducted by renowned research institute WGMB with more than 1,000 executives. In an interview, Leif Zierz, the Head of Deal Advisory, talks about KPMG's past success strategy and future challenges.
Mr. Zierz, in the current issue of Manager Magazine KPMG was named the top consultants in transactions and restructuring advisory. What distinguishes KPMG from its competitors?
The market and our customers perceive us so positively because we advise every customer holistically. We don’t approach a deal as a way to deliver just a simple product. Instead, we try to understand the context of the client’s issue and offer the customer a result-oriented, holistic solution.
In addition to this approach, we are supported by the professional competence of our employees and the Deal Advisory culture (PDF, 1.1 MB in German). This culture encourages and demands personal and professional development at all levels as well as multidisciplinary cooperation. We have many specialist and industry experts in our division, who are the best in their field. When we bring these experts together, we can deliver real value to our customers.
In Restructuring Advisory, for example, we are growing despite a persistently weak market environment. Despite these conditions, we are heavily investing in our range of services and new skills. We are bringing in new experts and have well-positioned the turnaround and insolvency sectors in the market. The latter also highlights the close cross-service collaboration between M&A, Restructuring and Legal, with which we are able to provide the best possible results for our customers.
How is the German transaction market currently developing?
Supported by very low interest rates, high liquidity in the market and excellent corporate earnings, the transaction market remains at a high level – almost at the record levels since 2006 and 2007. Recently, we observed many activities in the Industrial, Technology, Telecommunications, Real Estate and Healthcare sector, which we expect to remain stable. For KPMG and the Deal Advisory division, opportunities arise in this environment to strengthen our market position and continue to be the "Clear Choice" for our customer.
Globally, there were many political uncertainties last year. Does this also affect the German transaction business?
Yes. As an example, the China outbound market in 2017 is somewhat cooler than in the previous year. This is a result of the Chinese government questioning investments that are not clearly in line with the goals of its current 5-year plan. In principle, however, the internationalization of Chinese companies continues to be promoted. In the United States, its foreign trade policy is also a major concern for our customers. Preparations are being made, but so far transaction activity is not directly affected yet.
What is currently happening in Deal Advisory?
In Deal Advisory, we're committed to collaborate with our clients in new ways to deliver all-encompassing solutions in every field that will deliver real value. Hence, there are numerous technological innovations and developments in our field. For example, "KPMG Matchmaker" brings together entrepreneurs, buyers and investors and help them solve the question "How and where can I find a suitable business partner?". The focus here is on family businesses and medium-sized companies.
What are the biggest challenges for Deal Advisory at the moment?
A very obvious challenge for the whole industry is the new regulations of the EU Audit Reform, which we can already feel today. In some cases, we are no longer allowed to offer consulting services as before to audit mandates. Like many other German companies, we are currently struggling to find enough outstanding talents, which will remain a great future challenge.
In order to position ourselves well in this competition for talent, KPMG does a great deal: from the outset, we show our employees their excellent career prospects at KPMG, offer a wide range of training and further education opportunities, and work with them to develop the right path for their career. In addition, KPMG has developed very sophisticated work-life balance programs. For example, we offer young parents financial support and flexibility in designing their working hours.
Give us a look into the future of the Transaction Advisory. What are the trends? What innovations await us?
The transaction environment is incredibly diverse and it moves fast. And, the market is constantly evolving. Today, our customers face completely different challenges than a few years ago. Globalization and digitization and the lack of digital talent are forcing many companies to consider acquisitions. This is also reflected in the German transaction market.
From here, we observe more disruption as companies move into new business areas, especially in the high-tech sector. Among other things, this means that companies are completely changing their business model. Enterprises will conduct even more transactions in the future to keep pace with rapid technical progress. KPMG understands these trends and we will support companies as they address them. The Manager Magazine's recent study (PDF, 2.1 MB in German) results are encouraging to know that we are doing the right things and that our clients trust us.
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