Strength in numbers

January 2, 2019

The private client tax team at Deloitte, already one of the most respected in the North, continues to grow with strategic appointments and new client wins. North East Times speaks to Stephen Hall, senior partner of Deloitte in Newcastle, about why its size and capability makes it the firm of choice for growing numbers of high-net worth entrepreneurs and families in the region

With a growing team brimming with expertise, an international network of offices to call upon, and a capability and approachability that few can come close to, it is little wonder Deloitte is the go-to adviser for so many leading entrepreneurs and wealthy families across the North East.

Unquestionably one of the leading private client specialists in the North, Deloitte’s North East and Yorkshire operation comprises a vastly experienced group of advisers and acts for the firm’s enviable regional client base on a range of highly-complex matters, many of which have an international dimension.

With a strong expert team across the two regions, Deloitte can handle a number of major matters simultaneously, covering inheritance tax advice to huge private equity transactions, and everything in between.

On the strength of its growing workload and client base, its private client tax team continues to grow with key strategic director-level appointments, combining with long-standing
names at Deloitte’s Newcastle office to great effect.

New appointment Jodie Barwick-Bell – widely known from her KPMG days, and who more recently has worked in-house for high net worth families – joins Deloitte’s regional team. She adds to the expertise of Jackie Ward, who is now with Deloitte following an eminent career with EY, working with clients across the North East and Yorkshire regions.

They slot into a team already known and admired for its expertise in handling private client affairs, led by Stephen Hall, senior partner of Deloitte in Newcastle, and supported by leading tax adviser David Hicks. Both Stephen and David have been with Deloitte for over 25 years.

Despite the reputation and scale of the Deloitte global network, Stephen is keen to dispel the misconception that the firm is remote or its fees are too high, pointing out its deep commitment to the North East and long history of acting on a host of prominent and complex transactions.

“We have masses of experience here in this region – practical commercial experience that has been built over many years, so we can advise on the most complex matters. Regularly, we help our clients negotiate their way through choppy waters, and with the kind of back up we have – with offices in Deloitte member firms around the world and 16,000 people in the UK alone – we can handle even the most exceptionally complex affairs,” says Stephen.

“Our private client team across the North East and Yorkshire continues to grow and in the area of private client tax work, we have some of the leading names here at Deloitte in David, Jackie and Jodie. But despite that, we remain very accessible and approachable.

“Our client base is varied – we have long- standing clients who we have developed trusting relationships with over many years, and we help with their tax affairs and family office work. We have many serial entrepreneur clients whose lives have been spent building businesses, and being hugely ambitious, and they want advisers who can tell them what is possible instead of only seeing the risk and who can be with them on their journey.

“Then there are those who come to us for perhaps one major transaction, which could be preparing for the sale of their business. We often have this type of work referred to us by smaller accountancy firms, who trust us to complete work for their clients which they cannot service, usually due to the very complex nature or high value. We have a great network of such firms locally, and equally we refer work back to them.

“I think people often assume that because we’re Deloitte, our fees will be very high, but in reality they’re very competitive. While a smaller firm or high street accountant may have a cheaper hourly rate, they will take much longer to do the complex work than we do – they may handle the type of work we do every week once a year, so for us it is routine and we have the people here to get the job done.”

Deloitte is also a main port of call for those with interests abroad, says Stephen.

“Being part of an international network is very important to clients with interests overseas, and that can be anything from having a property in Spain, which you need to understand your tax liability for, to owning a global business. We might have a client, for example, which starts in the UK then might expand into the US and Europe, and our international knowledge and network is there for them to use. As the network has offices around the world, if our client has a matter in Hamburg, we will call our office there and liaise with them. If a client needs some support in New Zealand, they’re just an email away. Advice or guidance is available to our clients wherever they need it just by contacting their adviser in Newcastle,” he adds.

“Clearly with Brexit and the many challenges that will bring, entrepreneurs need the right guidance from advisers who are aware of the international picture and what that will mean for them. It is important to have the right advisers in place to help negotiate your way through what lies ahead.”

For Deloitte’s private client offering in
the North East and Yorkshire, the outlook is certainly very good, as they continue to grow both their team and client base.

Stephen says: “We have a highly capable team, and through the additions of Jackie and more recently Jodie too, we are continuing to increase our presence all the time. But for all we are part of a huge international brand, we are local and proud of our presence in this region and are deeply committed to our clients and helping them, their businesses and their families in preparing for the future and overcoming any issues that may arise in the meanwhile.”