KPMG is today announcing it has become the first ‘Big Four’ professional services firm to be awarded an Alternative Business Structure (“ABS”) licence by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority to operate on a multi-disciplinary practice basis, which allows the firm to deliver an expanded range of focused integrated legal services complementary to its existing business.
Simon Collins, UK Chairman of KPMG, comments: “The multi-disciplinary ABS licence enables us to enhance and increase the legal services we offer our clients. We are taking a focused approach: our key market differentiator is that we will only offer legal services which are fully integrated with other areas where we already provide advice."
“To be clear, we have absolutely no plans to develop any kind of standalone legal practice. 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.”
Richard Collins, SRA Executive Director, added: "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."
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, but in recent years the team has expanded to cover corporate, commercial, immigration and employment matters with plans to move into other areas where clients demand an integrated service.
KPMG’s existing legal services team comprises more than 50 lawyers and immigration specialists, including four partners and the firm continues to attract and recruit high calibre lawyers to support its growth. 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, commented: “Our existing legal team is on track to generate almost £10m in revenues this year and our future ambitions are to build on the solid foundations of this proven strategy, developing our ‘bench strength and capability’ in further areas which are complementary to and integrated with our existing business.
“We are in recruitment mode: we have already hired a number of extremely highly regarded lawyers and we continue to attract exceptionally high quality candidates as we add to our team.”
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Margot Cowhig, KPMG Corporate Communications
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KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 11,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2013. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 155,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.
This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.