Bird & Bird has today launched an international tax disputes practice based in the UK, with the appointment of a team from PricewaterhouseCoopers (‘PwC’).
Andy Brown and Julian Balson join as partners, along with Ben Holloway as Legal Director, and Tom Jaggar and Chris Young as Associates.
Tax is a key commercial issue for all businesses, including those challenged by technology and the digital world. In an industry of increased regulation, protecting against and effectively resolving tax disputes is key.
The launch of a specialist tax disputes team fulfils the strategy of Bird & Bird’s International Dispute Resolution group to be leaders in cross-border and complex disputes in all of the firm’s sectors.
Andy, Julian and the team have experience in all forms of tax disputes, but their most recent work at PwC focused on advising on matters related to tax avoidance and evasion, the associated disclosure regimes and protecting and defending against the risk of HMRC investigation and prosecution. Their practice complements a number of Bird & Bird sector areas, including food and beverage, IT, sports and finance sectors as well as our practice areas.
This provides an excellent opportunity for the firm to bolster the existing tax practice, which in the UK is advisory focussed. This, in combination with our cooperation agreement with transfer pricing specialist Questro, will allow the firm to provide advice to UK and international clients on a very large spectrum of tax related issues.
Andy Brown (pictured right) is recognised as one of the leading tax disputes practitioners in the UK, specialising in tax investigations and high profile tax disputes. Andy was named as one of the Tax Journal 40 under 40 leading tax specialists in the UK in 2012 and has featured in the Global Tax Controversy Leaders Guide as a UK leader for a number of years, including the 2016 edition.
Julian Balson (pictured left) is an experienced tax disputes solicitor who has had key technical leadership roles in a number of the most prominent UK tax investigations and disputes of recent years. He has worked in teams ranked in Legal 500 and Chambers throughout his career and has a particular experience assisting clients with large and complex tax investigations, and heavily contested tax litigation involving allegations of tax fraud.
Ben Holloway is a private wealth tax advisor with 13 years’ experience at PwC. Ben is qualified as a barrister and in addition to providing the team with private client tax advisory capability, Ben will also help drive the growth of other parts of the tax disputes practice that involve private wealth clients.
Tom Jaggar is an employed barrister with 6 years’ PQE practising tax disputes. Tom was previously an employed barrister with HMRC Solicitor’s Office, dealing with all tax disputes and POCA applications.
Chris Young is a practising solicitor with 2 years’ PQE practising tax investigations and disputes. Chris has extensive experience advising clients in resolving disputes arising from tax avoidance schemes.
Mathew Oliver, Co-Head of Bird & Bird’s International Tax Group says: “There is currently an unprecedented level of change both to the global tax rules, with initiatives such as BEPS, and the UK tax system. In the past couple of years we have also seen a hardening of attitude at government and tax authority level against both real and perceived tax evasion and avoidance. This is putting an increased burden on our clients both in terms of ongoing systems compliance and risk of challenge from the tax authorities. We’re therefore pleased to be welcoming a team of tax experts with deep experience in providing solutions for a broad range of clients, from start-ups to MNEs, across a broad range of sectors. We will be able to provide an innovative and comprehensive solution to the problems that many of our clients are facing.
Peter Knight, Co-Head of Bird & Bird’s International Dispute Resolution Group says: “The arrival of Andy, Julian and the team will bolster our capabilities in a range of tax disputes, which are particularly in demand for our clients, both domestic and international, whose businesses are being changed by technology and the digital world.”
The deal was brokered by Cain Dwyer
EY announced today that John Staples, managing partner of Burt, Staples & Maner, LLP (BSM), and the professionals from BSM have joined Ernst & Young LLP in the US. Staples and his team focus on Information Reporting and Withholding (IRW) and join the EY global network of professionals committed to addressing the rapidly changing tax reporting demands on international companies.
“John Staples and his team at BSM are widely recognized as leaders in information reporting and withholding,” said Kate Barton, EY Americas Vice Chair of Tax Services. “Staying current on global withholding tax developments and what it means to the overall business is critically important – today more than ever. The addition of this group and the appointment of John Staples as EY Global IRW Markets Leader is part of EY’s ongoing commitment to investing heavily in our global tax reporting services so we can help our clients address complex reporting issues wherever they operate.”
Staples noted that IRW has become an increasingly complex area with the worldwide implementation of the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) regime through country specific Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs), the overhaul of the U.S. withholding and reporting rules that apply to U.S. source payments to non-U.S. persons, and the rapid evolution of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and its automatic exchange of information (AEOI) requirements. Monitoring the global implementation of FATCA and CRS and identifying in-country variations has become critical for businesses and individuals to remain compliant with increasingly complex withholding and reporting requirements.
EY’s tax technical, business process and IT professionals help clients effectively and efficiently implement, monitor and remediate IRW issues across the enterprise. The range of services the IRW team delivers includes large integration projects, targeted evaluation of compliance programs in any global jurisdiction, data analysis, business line compliance, assessment and remediation. Staples and his team will play a key role in the coordination of these services to help organizations review and analyze their global needs, systems and policies, and address specific regulations in each market in which they operate.
Staples has been a partner at BSM for 13 years, focused primarily on IRW. His clients include major financial institutions, multinational corporations headquartered in the United States and Europe, banking and business associations, foreign governments, and high net worth individuals. Previously, Staples spent eight years with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), holding a variety of high level executive positions including Associate Chief Council (International) and Assistant to Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson.
“By joining EY, the former BSM professionals together with EY’s IRW team will be able to deliver a suite of globally integrated IRW services that are not available anywhere else in the marketplace,” said Staples, now a Principal in the Financial Services Organization of Ernst & Young LLP. “There is no one-size-fits-all reporting and compliance solution, but we have the global capabilities, knowledge, technology and resources to help organizations navigate the tax reporting challenges, whether large or small, that they may face anywhere in the world.”
In addition to John Staples, the following individuals have joined EY from BSM:
Philip Garlett joined BSM in 2006 from the IRS, where he rose to Special Counsel to the Deputy Associate Chief Counsel (Strategic International Programs) and the Deputy Associate Chief Counsel (International Field Service and Litigation) in the Office of Associate Chief Counsel (International). He was a key drafter of the U.S. withholding and information reporting regulations, as well as the Qualified Intermediary Agreement. From 2001 to 2005, Garlett headed the Harmful Tax Practices Unit at the OECD in Paris.
Jonathan Jackel has been an advocate for government and private clients, litigating tax cases and planning international financial structures. His expertise includes the implementation of cost basis reporting issues for debt instruments, options, wash sales, short sales, and securities lending. He has advised on FATCA compliance for both domestic and foreign clients and helps financial institutions and individual clients with foreign bank account reporting (FBAR) issues, including disclosures of past noncompliance to the IRS. Jackel writes the “Eye on FATCA” column for Tax Notes International.
Forbes Maner has been a partner with BSM since its founding. He has focused primarily on controversy issues, including tax audits and litigation. He has handled tax and non-tax controversies since 1978, with approximately half of his experience on tax cases. His experience includes oil and gas pricing cases, environmental compliance cases, and Freedom of Information Act issues in state and federal agencies and courts.
Evan Wamsley joined BSM in 2010. He advises foreign and domestic clients on a variety of withholding tax and international tax matters, particularly FATCA implementation. Previously, he spent eight years with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.
In addition to the above, Dan Burt will be engaged as a consultant. Burt previously served as Attorney-Advisor to the International Tax Counsel to the US Treasury and then to the Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Tax. He supervised the development of legislation, regulations and IRS revenue rulings and negotiated on behalf of the US with foreign tax authorities. He advises clients on complex international tax issues.
“I want to welcome the former Grant Thornton partners and staff to BDO Austria,” said Hans Peter Hoffmann, Managing Partner of BDO Austria. “This is a major step that enhances our service offerings in the Austrian market. This expansion means that our firm is gaining not only leading industry experts with a strong reputation across the region for excellence, but also a number of prominent clients nationwide. With a new headcount of 500 staff and 40 partners, BDO is well placed to provide exceptional client service to family-owned businesses and leading middle market companies throughout Austria.”
Withers continues its global expansion with the hiring of an Asian corporate tax head and the launch of Tokyo tax practice (which will operate as ‘Withers Japan, Zeirishi Houjin’).
The firm has recruited Eric Roose from Morrison & Foerster, who will head Withers’ International Corporate Tax practice in Asia. Corporate tax advisers (‘Zeirishi’) Chizuko Tomita and Takeo Mizutani will head Withers Japan, continuing a longstanding relationship with Eric as historic members of the top ranked Tokyo corporate tax team at Morrison & Foerster.
“Eric is one of the leading corporate tax lawyers practicing in Asia and his hire is a significant step in building on our commercial services in Asia. His experience of establishing teams across Asia will be a huge asset as we continue to add to our capabilities,” says Withers’ Managing Director Margaret Robertson.
Margaret adds: “Our family office and entrepreneurial clients frequently require us to handle their corporate transactions as well as personal legal matters, and Eric and the Zeirishi team add significant strengths to our existing corporate tax team in the US and Europe. We are also very excited to add an affiliate office in Japan to our network, and anticipate that it will result in new ways of working with clients across Asia and the US west coast, where we are also investing in substantial growth.”
Eric is qualified to practice in the US, is certified by the Singapore Institute of Accredited Tax Practitioners and has worked in Asia for over fifteen years, including over a decade with White & Case in Tokyo. He will be based in Withers’ newly enlarged Singapore office and will lead the firm’s cross-border transactional tax services across Asia.
Chizuko Tomita has worked as tax partner at E&Y and also as head of tax for Vodafone Japan.
Takeo Mizutani has also worked at White & Case and an international accountancy firm.
Akin Gump issued a press release yesterday confirming that the London and Frankfurt offices of Bingham McCutchen will join the Firm. In additional some partners from Hong Kong are also moving across. The total number of partners switching allegiance is 22 and more lawyers are expected to follow.
Sebastian Rice, who will be managing partner of Akin Gump’s London office, commented, “The synergies of our combined international practices, together with the incoming team’s strength in London, make this union strategically compelling. The combined European and Asian capabilities will not only considerably improve our client offerings in multiple jurisdictions, but also provide significant leverage in terms of our ability to present ourselves to potential clients here in London, in Hong Kong and in established and emerging markets across the globe.”
The only tax partner known to be moving at this stage is Stuart Sinclair.
Stuart advises on all aspects of corporate tax, focusing on domestic and international restructurings and reorganisations, mergers and acquisitions, structured finance arrangements, and financial instruments. He is recommended in leading industry publications including Chambers UK, Chambers Europe and Chambers Global. Experience includes:
- Represented the noteholders on the €1.3 billion financial restructuring of the Quinn Group, one of the largest multijurisdictional corporate groups in Ireland
- Advised a US-based distressed debt firm in connection with the restructuring of £500 million of debt in Crest Nicholson Holdings Limited, the parent of one of the UK’s largest house builder groups
- Advising a worldwide bondholder group in respect of the nationalisation and restructuring of three major Icelandic banks — Kaupthing, Landsbanki and Glitnir
- Advised the mezzanine consortium, headed by Apollo, Cerberus, Park Square Capital and Goldman Sachs, on the £2.6 billion restructuring of Britain’s largest betting and gaming group, the Gala Coral Group
- Advised an ad hoc committee of senior secured noteholders on the debt restructuring and English law administration sale of Wind Hellas, a Greek telecommunications company
Advised a group of senior lenders on the financial restructuring of Monier, a German roofing company
- Advised Grandtop International Holdings Limited, the offeror, on the acquisition by way of public takeover of UK-based Birmingham City Football Club
- Advised Japan-based Sumitomo Precision Products Co. Ltd. in its $56.6 million acquisition of Aviza Technology Inc., a semiconductor equipment producer headquartered in California
- Advised the noteholders on the financial restructuring of Technicolor S.A. (formerly Thomson S.A.), a French media company
Belgian law firm, Laga, today announces the integration of Greenille, the leading law firm in tax and legal services for high-net-worth families and individuals. This strengthens Laga’s ties with family businesses and their shareholders. More than thirty lawyers and staff will make the transfer on the 1st of September 2014.
“Greenille’s talented team, expansive network and specific expertise will be a considerable complement to Laga’s existing services,” says Danny Stas, Managing Partner at Laga. “The integration allows us to offer our clients a unique all-in approach.”
Since 2003 Greenille has grown into a leading law firm with an exceptional national and international reputation. The firm values interaction between business practice and academic research. Together with Alain-Laurent Verbeke (KU Leuven and Harvard), Greenille’s of counsel lawyers and scientific advisors are all associated with various universities, embodying the close ties Greenille maintains with the academic community.
“Greenille’s mission is to provide high-net-worth families with peace of mind,” says Managing Partner Alain Nijs. “Our key asset is our holistic approach. Alongside our tax and legal services we pay close attention to the psychological and communicative factors impacting family, wealth and business matters. At Laga we can imbed our growing practice into a strong and complementary organisation.”
Also after the integration, the Greenille team will continue to provide services through offices in Brussels, Antwerp and Kortrijk. The Dutch offices of Greenille in Amsterdam and Rotterdam will continue to exist but will move forward independently and under a new name.
King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin has appointed partner Anne Quenedey and her team to the Tax department in Paris.
Anne’s team includes one counsel and three associates, from Dentons. Joining with her is Carolle Thain-Navarro (Counsel) and associates Etienne Guillou, Arnaud Colson and Catherine Sambath. Prior to Dentons, Anne was co-head of Bird & Bird’s international Tax group.
Anne and her team advise large domestic and international groups in defining their tax strategy, as well as on their M&A and restructuring operations. Their expertise also extends to all kind of relationships with the tax authorities including audit, litigation and rulings.
Anne has a deep knowledge of the telecommunications and private equity sectors which complements our sectors strengths, as well as insurance sector capability. She advises family-owned groups on corporate and patrimonial aspects and works closely with the OECD on issues relating to transfer pricing of intangibles. Anne is also a member of the International Fiscal Association (IFA), along with many other key tax professional organisations in France.
Christophe Digoy, Managing Partner of the Paris office, said: “This team is a fantastic hire for the firm, reinforcing our strategy to grow our areas of strength. Our ability to attract Anne and her team is an endorsement of the vision and direction of the firm both in Paris and globally.”
Sylvie Vansteenkiste, partner and Head of the Tax group in Paris, added: “With excellent relationships with many multinational companies, Anne and her team add great strength, depth and capability to the global Tax practice. Their arrival positions us as one of the largest Tax teams in Paris in transactional taxation and in particular in private equity.”
Anne Quenedey said: “King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin has a top reputation in Tax law. I was particularly attracted by the dynamism of its team and by the recent combination with the leading Asia-Pacific firm King & Wood Mallesons.”
About the new team members:
Carolle Thain-Navarro, Counsel: previously worked at Dentons, Bird & Bird and Andersen Legal. Carolle works in particular on tax aspects of transactions, M&A and restructuring operations, for French or international groups. She has developed a particular expertise in private equity and regularly advises investment funds on their acquisitions. She also has extensive experience in assisting companies in their tax audit and litigation.
Etienne Guillou, senior associate: previously worked at Dentons, Bird & Bird and started his career at Fidal. Etienne mainly concentrates on patrimonial taxation and supports family businesses in their asset structuring and in their operations of transmissions and acquisitions.
Arnaud Colson, associate: previously worked at Dentons, Bird & Bird and Ernst & Young.
Catherine Sambath, associate: previously worked at Dentons and Bird & Bird.
The team join the existing Tax team of three partners (Sylvie Vansteenkiste, Fanny Combourieu and Raphaël Béra) and six associates (Gwenaël Kropfinger, Sarah Mordoff,Antoine Le Touzé, Thomas Guillier, Etienne Bimbeau and Olivia Sibieude).
DLA Piper has appointed Richard Hopkinson-Woolley, Laurence Rogers and Neville Wright to its Real Estate sector. The three partners join the firm from BLP.
Neville Wright is a tax lawyer with particular specialisation in property tax. He has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, structured finance, corporate reorganisations, all aspects of tax planning for property acquisitions and disposals, joint venture structuring, financing or refinancing of properties and capital allowances. Neville advises a wide range of property owners and occupiers including hoteliers, self-storage operators, care home operators and commercial property owners and developers.
Sir Nigel Knowles, Global Co-CEO at DLA Piper, said: “We are delighted to welcome Richard, Laurence and Neville to DLA Piper. The real estate market both in the UK and internationally has been growing steadily for the last year and this trend looks set to continue. The addition of this impressive team is a significant step in the implementation of the firm’s strategic commitment to the Real Estate sector.”