21/01/2009 - 22:00

Partners team up at Ernst & Young

21/01/2009 - 22:00

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THE revolving door of accountants in Perth's insolvency world continues to spin with Chris Munday joining his former Pitcher Partners colleague Vince Smith in Ernst & Young's corporate restructuring practice.

THE revolving door of accountants in Perth's insolvency world continues to spin with Chris Munday joining his former Pitcher Partners colleague Vince Smith in Ernst & Young's corporate restructuring practice.

Ernst & Young Perth managing partner Jeff Dowling said the new additions came after the firm began due diligence into recruiting for corporate recovery in May 2008, when the market had peaked.

"In WA, up until recently, we haven't had any partners leading the charge in the corporate recovery marketplace," he said.

"We see our guys as working across the national team but here in WA we can have a stronger market presence and we can aggressively pursue that market because our leaders are here on the ground 100 per cent of the time."

Mr Dowling said the insolvency division would be positioned under the firm's transaction advisory services umbrella, which includes due diligence, mergers and acquisitions, business modelling, evaluations, and project financing.

He anticipated that the new practice would handle a lot of "soft and informal" work, helping clients before they came under acute financial pressure.

"The more informal you keep it, the more value you retain," Mr Dowling said.

Mr Smith said he wanted a practice that would last through different economic cycles.

"The restructuring practice is about much more than formal appointments," he said.

Mr Smith has 21 years' experience in the industry, starting out at Arthur Andersen before moving to boutique practice Norgard Clohessy.

He became a partner at the firm with Mr Munday and they worked together when the firm rebranded to Pitcher Partners in 2004.

After undertaking business consultancy work with Deloitte, Mr Smith was poached by Ernst & Young in October 2008.

Mr Munday, who will start at Ernst & Young on February 2, began his career at Arthur Andersen's Adelaide office before being seconded to Perth in 1994 to work in the firm's business recovery division.

Managing partner of Pitcher Partners and national head of the firm's business recovery and insolvency services, Bryan Hughes, said he was "far from disappointed", despite the combined departures of Mr Munday, Mr Smith, and another staff member who was expected to head to KPMG.

"It's going to be interesting. I think you'll find both KPMG and Ernst & Young will be hitting up former members of our team at Pitcher Partners in the very near future," he said.

"We have a great system of training and mentoring and nurturing-through people, and the very fact now they are going out and heading up insolvency divisions at big four firms, adds to our credentials and shows we're a tier-one firm and we train tier-one operators."

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