KPMG is looking to bulk up its legal team as it becomes the latest accountancy giant to acquire an alternative business structure (ABS) licence in a bid to expand its offering to clients.
The firm said it is the first of the Big Four to be awarded an ABS licence by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to operate on a multi-disciplinary basis. But, KPMG UK Chair Simons Collins, said that the firm has ‘absolutely no plans’ to develop any kind of standalone legal practice, he added that the new regulatory regime, which opens up the provision of legal services across the sector, allows the firm to extend its legal services provision where it has a ‘proven and successful track record’.
Collins said: ‘We are taking a focused approach: our key differentiator is that we will only offer legal services which are fully integrated with other areas where we already provide advice.
KPMG’s existing legal services team comprises more than 50 lawyers and immigration specialists including four partners, including tax litigation head Amanda Brown, corporate and commercial head David White, and employment and immigration group head Punam Birly.
Gary Harley, the partner tasked with spearheading KPMG’s expanded legal services business under the ABS said: ‘Our existing legal team is on track to generate almost £10m in revenues this year and our future ambitions are to build on the solid foundations of this proven strategy’.
Harley added that the firm is also looking to bring in more lawyers, saying: ‘We are in recruitment mode: we have already hired a number of extremely highly regarded lawyers and we continue to attract exceptionally high quality candidates as we add to our team’
SRA executive director Richard Collins said: ‘The vehicle KPMG has created to deliver a range of professional services in a one-stop shop is exactly the kind of entity envisaged when the Legal Services Act was introduced. We believe ABSs of this type will benefit consumers by providing greater competition in the provision of legal services, greater opportunities to access holistic services, and potential reductions in cost by services being made available in one place’.
It was reported by Legal Business last year that KPMG, alongside fellow accountancy giant EY, was considering growing its legal services function having hired DLA corporate partner Nick Roome.
PwC was first to make the move, however, and announced late January that it had received approval from the SRA to become an ABS, meaning it can now directly own limited liability partnership, PwC Legal, and bring together its circa 2,000 global lawyer network.