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Grant Thornton latest to suffer

31 Dec 08

Britain’s fifth largest accountancy firm, Grant Thornton, is to cut 225 jobs, including 60 partners, blaming the economic downturn and last year’s merger with rival business Robson Rhodes

Most of the jobs to go will be in corporate finance, according to the firm’s spokesman Jason Gowar. Grant Thornton is aiming to offer other jobs to those affected.

Gowar said about half of the partners leaving are being made redundant and the others are due to retire.

The firm was consulting employees whose jobs are at risk and the process was expected to be completed before Christmas.

Gowar said the cuts are due to consolidation following the merger with Robson Rhodes a year ago and what he described as “the significant downturn in the market, particularly in corporate finance and related advisory services”.

He said: “Next year will be a difficult one financially for everyone, not just for Grant Thornton.”

He added that no further cuts are planned, but said he does not “have a crystal ball” to predict how the economy will perform over the coming year.

Grant Thornton earned £394m in fee income this year.

The cutbacks are among the biggest to be announced by one of Britain’s major accountancy firms.

Robert Hannah, who became the head of Grant Thornton in Scotland during the summer, warned this month that it would take a year for the investment market to recover from the downturn and a further two years before the rest of the economy is back on track.

Grant Thornton comes just behind the Big Four accountancy firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and KPMG, in terms of fee income.

It has 27 offices in Britain, one in the Cayman Islands and one in the British Virgin Islands.

Grant Thornton’s Scottish operation, with 200 staff, faces seven job cuts, two because of the closure of the forensic accountancy department.

The firm said none of its nine partners in Scotland is at risk.

It added that six of the seven employees who have been hit north of the border do most of their business outside the country..

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