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Wednesday, Jul 08, 2020

KPMG to axe 40 jobs, or 2 per cent of Hong Kong headcount, as it remodels its advisory business to embrace tech innovation

KPMG to axe 40 jobs, or 2 per cent of Hong Kong headcount, as it remodels its advisory business to embrace tech innovation

KPMG will remodel its advisory business in Hong Kong to meet customers’ need for advice on technology and innovation. The firm will redeploy some members of its advisory team to other departments, letting 40 staff go in the coming days, according to two sources familiar with the matter
KPMG, one of the world’s four largest accounting firms and professional services network, will make 40 jobs redundant at its advisory business in Hong Kong as it remodels its consultancy operation, according to two people familiar with the plans.

The staff affected, representing 2 per cent of the firm’s headcount in Hong Kong and 4 per cent of the positions in the advisory business, will be let go in the coming days, according to the sources, who declined to be named for speaking of a confidential matter.

Some employees will be reassigned to different departments, while 40 will be let go. Some staff members in specific posts will be given additional time to ensure a smooth transition, the sources said. KPMG’s spokeswoman did not immediately provide a comment.

KPMG, with its global headquarters in the Netherlands, wants to focus its advisory business on technology, transformation, value creation, innovation and financial services, which would necessitate letting go of the team that handled general analysis and traditional advisory, the sources said.

The move is to remodel KPMG to enable its advisory business to have a better focus to meet customers’ needs, particularly in the areas of innovation and technology upgrades, they said.

The taxation and auditing practises, which form the backbone and bulk of KPMG’s business, will be unaffected by the move, they said.

Hong Kong was the world’s largest destination for initial public offerings (IPOs) in 2019 for the seventh time in 11 years. That level of fundraising activity has created an ecosystem of financial and professional services comprising bankers, brokers, accounts, auditors and management consultants.

“There is strong demand for accounting services,” said Johnson Kong Chi-how, president of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA), in an interview with South China Morning Post last week. “Besides the normal audit and due diligence services, many accounting firms are also in demand for debt restructuring and other advisory services for improving operational efficiencies amid an economy downturn.”

Still, the redundancies comes at a time of heightened anxiety for Hong Kong’s professional services, as large chunks of the financial industry including mergers and acquisitions, IPOs and investment banking have gone into hiatus, amid a work-at-home practise to contain the coronavirus outbreak. KPMG’s remodelling has nothing to do with the coronavirus outbreak or cost-cutting, the sources said.
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