Ernst & Young’s former Far East asset management leader, Carlyon Knight-Evans, is moving to a rival ‘big four’ accounting and auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, sparking a regional reshuffle at his former employer.

Having spent nearly 21 years at E&Y, Knight-Evans will remain in Hong Kong and take up his new role in December. He left the firm on May 31 and is taking “a bit of a holiday”, according to his LinkedIn page.

Knight-Evans is thought to be joining PwC as a partner in the asset management industry group and will presumably report to regional practice head Robert Grome, but PwC declined to confirm this or give any comment.

E&Y has replaced him with Roy Stockell, previously head of asset management for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Stockell arrived from London on July 18 as Asia-Pacific asset management leader, with a wider remit than that of Knight-Evans.

The firm has also transferred two partners to Hong Kong to bolster the practice. George Saffayeh and Elliott Shadforth – who moved from New York and Sydney respectively – have both been with E&Y for more than 15 years.

“We see huge growth opportunities within Asia-Pacific generally,” says Stockell. “In Hong Kong, we need to protect our book of business, but we are also going to develop it.”

E&Y’s strategic objective is to continue to invest in its hedge fund business and alternatives generally, including real estate and private equity, adds Stockell, and also boost its coverage of traditional, long-only funds.

“The plan is to become a much more full-service professional service firm for the funds market, including long-only fund managers,” he says. “We will invest heavily in our tax, auditing, consulting and transactions businesses.”

Is E&Y planning further hires? “We have a strong growth agenda, so are constantly looking for quality staff across all practices,” says Stockell.

Nevertheless, Knight-Evans’ departure will have come as a blow to E&Y, as he is considered very experienced and knowledgeable. Clients singled him out for particular praise when contacted for feedback for AsianInvestor’s Service Provider Awards* last year. E&Y subsequently won the award for best provider of auditing for funds (see AsianInvestor's December 2010 issue).

PwC already has a well established regional funds advisory and auditing practice, which will be further boosted by Knight-Evans’ arrival. The firm is also widely viewed as the regional pace-setter on providing fund managers with tax advice, winning last year’s AsianInvestor award in that area.

*Asianinvestor is inviting pitches for this year’s awards, with a final deadline for submissions of September 16. Click here for details and here for photos from last year’s awards dinner.