PPB, SimsPartners banking on merger

The Perth, Melbourne and Sydney practices of PPB will merge with the Brisbane and Sydney practices of SimsPartners on July 1 to form the new accounting firm, the PPB Group.

Also on July 1, the Western Australian branch of SimsPartners will sever ties from the group to trade under the new name, WA Insolvency Solutions.

The PPB Group will be led by a board comprising Ian Carson, Tony Sims, Grant Sparks, Stephen Parbery and Mark Robinson, who will also take on the role of chief operating partner.

Bill Moss, who had a 25-year career with Macquarie Bank, has been appointed chairman.

PPB Perth partner Simon Theobald said it was an exciting time for the firm, which plans to expand its advisory portfolio.

"The merger will certainly takes us to the next level in terms of a presence on the east coast and effectively we will become a part of a national partnership, apart from Adelaide," he told WA Business News.

Mr Theobald will continue as the sole partner in Perth and will remain with his "core team" of five staff.

PPB's Adelaide office and SimsPartners' Melbourne and Adelaide offices will not join the new national PPB Group.

SimsPartners and PPB have been eyeing larger corporate recovery work over the past six months. Combining the firms will allow the PPB Group to operate with about 200 professional staff and 20 partners.

The merger comes almost a year after Perth's PPB firm lost partners Simon Read and Andy Birch to McGrathNicol & Partners and Cliff Rocke to the banking sector.

Upon all three partners leaving last August, Mr Theobald became the sole partner for PPB in Perth.

McGrathNicol, which is an independent advisory firm specialising in corporate advisory, forensic, transaction services and corporate recovery, was established as an independent firm in 2004.

It has enjoyed continued market success, employing about 270 people in offices in all major Australasian cities.

Mr Read said he and Mr Birch left PPB to work for a leading accounting firm with a national presence.

He said the newly formed PPB Group would put his former firm close to being a first tier accounting firm.

"It's good to see PPB is finally starting to get a national presence and there's a good chance that down the track it will be known as a first tier accounting firm," Mr Read said.

"Really, it all comes down to size; you do need a lot of people for sure to get to that level and this merger will give them a real competitive size."

SimsPartners Perth partner Kim Strickland said his firm was not approached by PPB for the merger and would have knocked it back regardless.

"We have no intention of being a member of any national association and never will," he said.

"There are all these costs involved with being a member of a national association with very little benefit and it's a distraction away from WA business anyway."


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