KPMG seeks to rebuild Indian Advisory arm after Deloitte raid

03 October 2017 3 min. read
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Having been ransacked by competitors Deloitte last year, KPMG has devised a strategy to rebuild its advisory practice in India. Following the loss of 20 partners to their rivals in the third quarter of last year, the new plan is the latest development in a hostile race between Big Four consulting firms to establish a dominant presence in the expanding Indian and Asian economy.

As the Big Four firms continue to expand their operations in India, fierce competition over the talent available in the country has broken out. Less than a year ago, Deloitte made a swooping move for 20 partners and their entire teams working at rival firm KPMG’s Indian outfit, amounting to approximately 300 people. The move was crucial to Deloitte’s plans to compete with fellow Big Four member EY’s advisory practice, which is currently the largest India with 125 partners. Since then, the number of professionals to move from KPMG to Deloitte has risen to 350.

Now, in a bid to rebuild their advisory practice in India, KPMG has devised a strategy of its own, which includes the addition of 15-20 partners, and a substantial number of executives, to its existing advisory practice of over 250 partners in the country. The expansion is set to take place over the next 12-18 months.

KPMG seeks to rebuild Indian Advisory arm after Deloitte raid

Alongside extensive additions to personnel, the new strategy for boosting the advisory segment involves upskilling the existing staff, and intensifying the use of technology. At KPMG, the advisory segment consists of the crucial practices of management consulting, risk consulting and the transactions business, which lends all the more importance to the development of the segment. The firm, along with many major consultancies in the region, had meanwhile lost business due to restrictions, which have recently been relaxed, meaning KPMG can devote further resources toward retrieving those former clients.

Consulting arms race

Commenting on the impact of Deloitte’s raid, newly appointed Head of Advisory, Vikram Hosangady said, “with over 6,000 people and a global platform like KPMG, we are a very resilient organisation. Clients always prefer organisations, not individuals. In sectors where we lost people, other talented people stepped in and the global firm helped us in global accounts. We didn’t end up losing clients.”

The firm has meanwhile launched a ‘One M&A’ initiative to further bolster its deals business, amid its recovery plans. That initiative comes on the back of the deployment of a new BMR team, which comprises of 10-12 partners and over 100 professional executives. To make up for deficiencies in their internal capacity, KPMG is going to tie up with tech and non-tech firms.

Remarking on new alliances, as well as the rebuilding plans, Vikram Hosangady added, “Everything cannot reside within the companies. We are building alliances and trying to create an ecosystem where others can bring in their skill sets to augment ours… We want to achieve 20% growth in business consistently, and will choose our sectors and businesses carefully so that we are the best in these. We will focus on chasing quality of revenue, not just volume.”