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ON THE MONEY: FTI Consulting Perth managing director Shaun Duffy (centre) with vice-president Cameron Morse (left) and director James Tranter. Photo: Bohdan Warchomij

FTI Consulting narrowly holds top spot

FIVE public relations firms dominated the Western Australian corporate finance market last year, with FTI Consulting ranked a narrow winner based on the value of transactions it worked on.

FTI finished just ahead of Read Corporate, which increasingly stands apart from its competitors because it has remained an independent Perth firm rather than jumping into bed with a big national or international group.

The industry ranking is very different when measured by number of transactions; in that case, Subiaco-based PPR was the runaway winner, having worked on 68 transactions.

It was followed by Cannings Purple and FTI.

Magnus Investor Relations also ranked high in WA Business News’ annual corporate finance survey, a little more than one year after Perth expat and Magnus director John Gardner returned to his hometown to set up an office in the west.

FTI Consulting’s top ranking in the 2012 survey shows there is plenty of life in the Perth practice after its two high-profile principals, Paul Downie and John McGlue, sold their equity in the business.

Messrs Downie and McGlue led the business for more than a decade; their exit marked the full integration of the Perth practice into the global FTI network.

The changing character of the firm was also reflected in its head office; it moved from an old building in Nedlands that resembled a converted barn to an office building on Kings Park Road.

Now led by managing director Shaun Duffy, who previously worked for Patersons and Alinta, FTI’s Perth office has 13 staff, making it the sixth-largest public relations firm in Perth, according to WA Business News' Book of Lists.

During 2012, FTI worked on 35 corporate finance transactions worth $2.4 billion. Like just about every other player in the market, that was a drop from the 2011 numbers.

As WA Business News has reported in the first two instalments of its corporate finance review (in the last two editions of the newspaper), the total value of WA-related transactions fell by 40 per cent last year to $33 billion, denting the work flow for corporate advisers and lawyers as well as PR advisers.

The results of the 2012 survey show that public relations firms captured only a portion of the overall market.

The top six firms advised on about $10 billion of transactions last year, with the balance handled either by in-house PR teams or undertaken without any professional PR input.

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