30/04/2015 - 14:01

Moore Stephens to expand

30/04/2015 - 14:01

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Moore Stephens will become the 11th largest accounting firm in Western Australia after striking a merger agreement with the Perth office of UHY Haines Norton.

Moore Stephens to expand
Moore Stevens director Ray Simpson (left) with partner Neil Pace, UHY chief executive Michael Bennett and chairman David Tomasi. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Moore Stephens will become the 11th largest accounting firm in Western Australia after striking a merger agreement with the Perth office of UHY Haines Norton.

The new Moore Stephens will have 15 partners and 75 accounting staff, according to the BNiQ database.

That ranks it just below PKF Lawler and Nexia Australia in terms of accounting staff in WA, but just ahead of HLB Mann Judd.

UHY’s Perth chief executive Michael Bennett said the merged firm would be able to offer better solutions than UHY was individually able to do.

“We had those conversations that everybody has all the time,” Mr Bennett told Business News.

“In this case it was pretty clear we could move onto the next stage.

“From our very early conversations it was obvious that the two firms had great synergies and a desire to provide opportunities for all their stakeholders.”

Mr Bennett said the two firms would complement each other, with Moore Stephens being stronger in the corporate market and in corporate tax.

UHY has a strong local government practice and deep knowledge of international tax, flowing from its work with business migrants.

Moore Stephens Perth managing partner Neil Pace said the new firm would offer clients a broader skill set and an enhanced depth and breadth of service.

Mr Bennett said the two firms had not yet discussed who would be managing partner after the merger takes effect on July 1.

The new Moore Stephens is on the lookout for office space in the Perth CBD.

The lease held by Moore Stephens at 12 St Georges Terrace is due to expire at the end of the year while UHY Haines Norton plans to move out of Osborne Park.

UHY Haines Norton chairman Michael Coughtrey said the network, which extends across Australia and New Zealand, was evaluating new opportunities in Perth.

“We are part of a larger national and international network and that sometimes involves a change in our member firms. In this case, the Perth office had a unique opportunity with their practice and all the UHY Haines Norton member firms join in wishing them well in their new venture,” Mr Coughtrey said.

“We have enjoyed an outstanding reputation in Perth and we expect, given the strong value of the UHY Haines Norton name together with our world-wide UHY International network, an alliance will be an attractive proposition to a number of quality practices.”

“We anticipate being able to announce a new Perth office shortly.”

The proposed merger is the second major transaction among mid-tier accounting firms in Perth this year.

It follows PKF Lawler coming together with Subiaco-based Barringtons.

That transaction made PKF Lawler the ninth largest accounting firm in WA.

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