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KPMG’s UK and Swiss member firms announce merger

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The UK and Swiss member firms of KPMG, the world’s fourth largest accounting network, have announced plans to merge into a single organization.

KPMG is not a company in a traditional sense but rather a group of separate accounting firms that share the same brand name and, in some cases, certain backoffice resources. Each such member firm typically focuses on a single geographic region. The entity that will emerge from the merger of KPMG’s UK and Swiss affiliates is expected to become the second largest member of the accounting network with $4.4 billion in combined annual fee income.

The UK member firm accounts for well over 70% of that sum. It also employs about 17,000 of the approximately 20,000 employees who will became part of the entity once the deal goes through. KPMG’s Swiss member, in turn, has about 2,600 employees and more than 140 partners.

The Swiss and UK firms will remain separate companies following the merger. The main change is that they will move under the wing of a new organization, structured as a limited liability partnership, that will be owned by partners from both firms. KPMG UK CEO Jon Holt will lead the partnership while his Swiss counterpart, Stefan Pfister, is set to become group deputy CEO.

Holt told the Financial Times that the move is designed to help the firms boost profits and accelerate revenue growth. The tie-up between KPMG’s UK and Swiss affiliates should enable their respective workers to collaborate more effectively on international projects, which could help boost the accounting network’s competitiveness in the European market.

Commenting on the deal in a prepared statement, Holt remarked “that we will be stronger as one combined firm and together we will have the scale to significantly enhance our ability to deliver great outcomes for our clients both internationally and within our domestic markets.”