Growth in IPOs provides boost for EY

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THE growing number of stock market flotations is putting a spring in the step of professional services firm EY.

EY, which used to be known as Ernst & Young, has seen its Yorkshire headcount rise from around 320 to 340 this year, during a period in which the firm secured the reporting accountant roles in Yorkshire-based IPOs, involving Clipper, Servelec, and Polypipe.

Stuart Watson, EY’s newly appointed Yorkshire and Humber senior partner, said he was cautiously optimistic about the region’s economic prospects. He said client conversations now revolved around managing growth.

EY has been boosting the size of its financial services team in the region. Across the UK, EY reported turnover growth of 8.6 per cent to £1.868bn for the year ending June 27 2014. Distributable profits increased 12 per cent from £368m to £412m. Globally, the firm reported revenues of US$27.4bn for the same period, which represents 6.8 per cent growth over the previous financial year in local currency terms. Average distributable profit per partner increased to £727,000, up from £651,000 in 2013.

EY appointed Mr Watson to head up the regional team in July 2014. His predecessor, David Buckley, changed roles to concentrate on leading the firm’s transaction support team in the region. The firm also added a partner from its London office, Steve Robb, to lead its growing financial services assurance business in the region, which secured the audit work for the Co-operative Bank.

Mr Watson said: “Our strong performance in Yorkshire and the Humber – which was in line with our market-leading UK growth – was underpinned by continued investment in our people, a number of new client wins across our service lines and the landmark IPOs our teams supported in the region.

“Entrepreneurial businesses in Yorkshire are targeting opportunities around the world as their markets improve. Our ability to deliver internationally has given us significant competitive advantage in helping our regional clients to expand across borders.

“We are continuing to invest in our fast-growing financial services assurance business in the North on the back of new client wins and the appointment of partner Steve Robb to our Leeds office.

“Our established health advisory team in Yorkshire is also growing strongly, as we help organisations in the sector respond to the fresh opportunities and challenges they face.

“Yorkshire and the Humber is the focus of even greater economic and political interest due to HS2, the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ vision and the debate surrounding the devolution of political powers to the UK regions.

“It is a strategically important market for EY and represents a real growth opportunity for our business as the region focuses on its contribution to rebalancing the economy.

“Through investing in our Yorkshire and Humber practice to support the ambitions of our clients and the communities we work in, we remain committed to helping the region thrive.”

A number of promotions have been announced over the last year. In EY’s Yorkshire and Humber operation, which has offices in Leeds and Hull, Rob Peers became an equity partner in tax and Natasha Tomlinson was promoted to executive director in assurance, while partner Steve Robb also joined the regional practice from EY’s London office.

In September 2014, the Yorkshire and Humber team increased its graduate intake by almost a third to 25 and welcomed five new school leavers.