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Deloitte's planning Aberdeen expansion

DELOITTE is preparing to almost double the size of its Aberdeen practice on the back of the city's booming energy industry.

CONFIDENT: Senior partner Ian Steele expects Aberdeen growth to develop organically. Picture: Colin Templeton
CONFIDENT: Senior partner Ian Steele expects Aberdeen growth to develop organically. Picture: Colin Templeton

Ian Steele, senior partner for Scotland, believes the 110-person operation in the north-east can grow to more than 200.

Along with additions in offices across Edinburgh and Glasgow that would push the firm – one of the Big Four alongside PwC, Ernst & Young and KPMG – towards 800 people in Scotland.

Mr Steele said: "Each of our offices is growing, but the most buoyant part of the economy is Aberdeen.

"My hope and expectation is that our presence in Aberdeen will grow significantly.

"One of my priorities is to invest into Aberdeen in corporate finance advisory, consulting but also audit and tax.

"We would increase the partner and staff headcount. Aberdeen is probably about 110 and I don't see any reason why it couldn't be 200 as I don't think activity in Aberdeen is going to slow down any time soon.

"There are a lot of good companies which are exporting their expertise so are growing in Aberdeen in order to supply their clients. I'm pleased with the development of the Aberdeen office but it still has a long way to go."

Mr Steele expects the growth in Aberdeen to come organically rather than through acquisition but admitted there was intense competition in the city.

Derek Henderson, Deloitte's senior partner in Aberdeen, said business activity is the most buoyant he has seen in his 15 years in the city and believes the practice in the city can grow quickly within the next two years.

He said: "We are only as busy as our clients and they are very busy at the moment.

"So many businesses now are more international.

"Whilst the base is in Aberdeen and they have corporate head offices there they are actually serving the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific.

"When we look at the market we are very excited and positive about it and we have confidence in the industry.

"There is a lot of change going on and a lot of activity which requires the services we provide."

Mr Steele believes Deloitte is increasing its market share in merger and acquisition advisory in Scotland.

He said: "I don't necessarily agree the volume of M&A activity will increase in the next 12 months.

"Any firm that says they are going to grow other than through increasing market share is probably wrong."

Deloitte has recently organised debate-style events to allow clients to ask questions about Scotland's constitutional future – featuring the likes of John Swinney and Alistair Darling – which have sold out.

However, Mr Steele said no clients have yet approached him to ask for scenario planning models if Scotland gains independence.

Mr Steele also reiterated the firm's commitment to social programmes through volunteering and continuing its participation in the Micro-Tyco challenge.

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