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UK Trade Mission 2009 – The Meetings Begin

by | Jun 11, 2009 | Observations

Monday morning started with a group PKF NAN breakfast at the hotel Zetter. Representatives were from the following offices:

Houston – PKF Texas: Kenneth Guidry, Frank Landreneau, and Gregory Price
Atlanta – Frazier & Deeter: Sean Lager and Seth McDaniel
New York City – PKF New York: John Haslbauer
Birmingham – Dent, Baker & Company LLP: Michael Baker
Detroit – Clayton & McKervey P.C.: Kevin McKervey
San Diego – Hutchinson & Bloodgood LLP: Hanne LeLoup (Hanne’s daughter is playing in International Women’s Lacrosse tournament for Denmark next week in Poland. Good luck to her!)

PKF UK is a quick 10 minute walk from the hotel and is located at Farringdon Place, 20 Farringdon Road, London, EC1M 3AP

We were welcomed by Chris Clay, UK Business Development Director and Richard Brint, Audit Partner who provided us with a tour of the offices and a briefing on the PKF UK practices. The UK firm has offices in approximately 20 locations within the UK and employs approximately 1,200 people and has revenues in the range of $375 million. They are very well known and have great coverage within the UK. The UK firm is led by Martin Goodchild, the Managing Partner.

Next, we were briefed by Jon Hills and the Tax Advisory team. I tried to keep up with all the introductions, so if I misspelled a name or forget someone, apologies in advance. Jon went first and provided an overview of the tax capabilities of the firm and the requirements to practice tax in the UK. Jon was followed by John Cassidy who reviewed tax investigations. Katherine Brown then led an overview of the Corporate International Tax, Due Diligence and UK-US tax matters. Patrick Harrison was next and presented topics on privately held businesses and resident related activities. VAT expert Debbie Jennings presented an overview on VAT matters. Given our NAV practice and the involvement we have with clients in the UK, I have previously worked with Katherine and Debbie and they were in a word … Brilliant! The tax briefings ended with Phillip Howell and Matt Couch making presentations on their areas of specialization.

A working lunch followed, or networking lunch I should say. PKF UK has their own kitchen facilities and the staff prepared a wonderful lunch for us. We were able to meet additional PKF UK folks and focus on meeting some additional personnel.

After lunch, the various PKF NAN offices made presentations about their firms, offices, and capabilities to serve clients. Kenneth Guidry made the presentation about PKF Texas and did an outstanding job. I think many PKF UK personnel were impressed with the City of Houston’s International capabilities and our cost of living, which is 35% less than London. I think many were ready to transfer when they saw those friendly numbers. Houston, Texas is a tax friendly city/state and is well received by all.

The PKF UK Energy team presented to Kenneth, Frank and I along with other representatives from the PKF NAN group. The UK team was led by Stuart Barnsdall and Jeff Harris. They have started working on a Global Energy Brochure that they want to start using soon in the UK. We had a great discussion about adding some US clients to the list and also how we might start to position ourselves as a global branded firm.

Last stop for the day was the Corporate Finance Group led by Mark Lister, Patrick Potter and Anthony Appleton.

We also had a side meeting with the Forensic team in the UK as well… What a day!

At 6:30 PM we went to the law firm of Pinsent Masons and met several of their partners. I met one partner, Mark Lane who actually has a client in Houston. They had a great reception for us and I want to thank our PKF UK friends for the introductions.

The reception was over for me and I headed back with some folks to the Zetter. I needed some dinner so I went to the Zetter restaurant and found PKF NAN Executive Director Terry Snyder.

It was a very long day indeed, but I think the impact will have long term and far reaching implications.

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