THE past year has provided a fresh change for Perth’s top property lawyer, KPMG Legal partner Ted Sharp. After more than 20 years with Freehills and its predecessor Parker & Parker, Mr Sharp chose to pursue new opportunities at a much smaller firm.
THE past year has provided a fresh change for Perth’s top property lawyer, KPMG Legal partner Ted Sharp.
After more than 20 years with Freehills and its predecessor Parker & Parker, Mr Sharp chose to pursue new opportunities at a much smaller firm.
KPMG Legal has 10 professional staff in Perth, including four partners, a big change from the 34 partners at Freehills.
“I was looking for a different challenge after being at Parkers and Freehills for 20-plus years,” said the 58-year old Mr Sharp, who started his new job last July.
“I was hoping to work with new clients and try a new work environment.”
Mr Sharp said KPMG Legal was unique as a small law firm inside a large national organisation. KPMG is also the only ‘Big 4’ accounting firm to have a permanent legal practice in Perth.
KPMG Legal has had a presence in Perth for five years, although Mr Sharp said it was only in the past two years that it has started to crank up.
Its principal role is to service the clients of KPMG, helping to position the group as a multi-disciplinary professional services practice.
“We need to target specific services. We’re clearly not big enough to be
all things to all people,” he said.
Mr Sharp said he regarded KPMG Legal’s national service capability as a major selling point for the business.
Over the course of his legal career, Mr Sharp has been involved in everything from greenfield suburban developments to inner-city renewal and major CBD commercial projects. Early in his career, he was responsible for legal work associated with the creation of the suburb of Burrendah, now known as part of Willetton.
This included not only the usual subdivision aspects, but also Town Planning Appeals concerning compensation for land given up to the local government and a number of commercial projects within the scheme.
Mr Sharp acted for one of the original joint venturers in the Mindarie Keys Estate when it was first conceived and again when the subsequent developer (Fini Group and others) bought in.
He advised Growth Equities Mutual Limited on the creation of what may be the longest ground lease ever offered in Perth.
The 135-year lease was offered to the Weld Club, to improve utilisation of its land assets and facilitate development of the Exchange Plaza building.
Mr Sharp has been involved in innovative aspects of the Joondalup and Subi Centro developments.
For instance, he advised Landcorp on the creation of rights to airspace for developments over the Joondalup Railway Tunnel. Similarly, he advised the Subiaco Redevelopment Authority on various easements and covenants to enable the utilisation of land adjoining and particularly over the Subiaco railway tunnel.
Mr Sharp also introduced the concept of ‘volumetric titles’ (i.e. titles relating to cubic space) to the development.
More recently, he advised Multiplex as the successful tenderer for the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre and, in conjunction with others, negotiated and documented the final contracts.
He also advised the developers of Mounts Bay Village on construction, sale and setting up various rights between the building owners and occupiers to use mutual recreational facilities.
Mr Sharp said one of the biggest changes he had observed since moving from Freehills to KPMG was the increased focus on marketing and business development.
“There is a lot more marketing here by the partners. And the people here are always tendering for new work,” he said.
“The partners are always out there drumming up work to keep their people busy.”
Mr Sharp has found that the increased marketing focus applies particularly to his new role.
“You have to sell and market yourself within the KPMG organisation as much as to external clients.”