30/01/2013 - 00:50

Argento revives career in consulting at BDO

30/01/2013 - 00:50

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CUSTOM FIT: Maurice Argento (right) will be working closely with BDO’s corporate finance team led by Sherif Andrawes. Photo: Bohdan Warchomij

ACCOUNTING firm BDO has recruited experienced management-consulting player Maurice Argento to establish a new business line for the firm.

Mr Argento, who previously worked with BDO chief executive Gerard Moody at consulting firm Mainsheet, will start as a partner in early February and work closely with BDO’s corporate finance team, one of the busiest in the state.

The new practice will target the broader midtier market with consulting focused on strategy, an area Mr Argento and BDO believe is underserviced in Perth despite an influx of global management consulting players in recent years.

Perth has witnessed the arrival of most of the biggest management consulting brands in the past three years as the resources boom created significant opportunities at a time when much of the rest of the world was struggling.

Players such as Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company and McKinsey have, in that order, all opened offices in Perth between early 2010 and the middle of last year.

Typically, these players compete with the major accounting firms that tend to service the bigger end of the Western Australian market, especially on projects with an emphasis on the consulting spectrum, which starts at strategy and ends at operational implementation.

“The big four (accountants) and international consulting firms are largely focusing on the top 10 or 20 companies in town, and/or international inbound companies,” Mr Argento told WA Business News.

“During the past few months a number of people have said to me that there is a gap in the mid-market that Mainsheet, and to some extent GEM, used to fill.

“It needs a service style that is much more bespoke and custom-fitted to the client.”

BDO WA chairman and corporate finance partner Sherif Andrawes said his firm had also received similar feedback.

“Coincidently we have been approached by clients wanting that kind of work without necessarily having the capability,” he said.

Mr Andrawes said Mr Argento would work closely with the corporate finance team, which was where most of that kind of referral work tended to come from.

According to WA Business News’ corporate finance database, BDO is very active in the corporate advisory space, ranked fifth for accountants in equity capital markets after being involved in nine transactions worth $49 million, including five IPOs, and first in mergers and acquisitions where it was involved in 20 transactions worth a total of $1.96 billion, mainly for providing independent expert reports.

Mr Argento has been doing some private consulting work during the past six months following his departure from Euroz, where he tried out investment banking after moving across from PwC.

He has been in consulting since 1995 when he worked with Arthur Andersen before leaving to establish a joint venture with law firm Freehills in 2000, a time when accountants and law firms briefly dabbled with entering each other’s markets.

That business, called Mainsheet Corporate, became independent in 2003 and was then bought by PwC in 2009, in a second acquisition to follow the 2007 purchase of the Perth-based GEM Consulting.

 

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