Accounting and auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has announced three senior partners in its Hong Kong asset management group and set itself the goal of doubling revenues within five years.
The firm is evidently seeking to expand in line with the explosion of new entrants and start-up funds in the city, most notably in the fields of private equity, hedge funds and real estate.
PwC also expects healthy growth in the number of Chinese firms setting up in Hong Kong, noting that it already services eight of the 10 operating at present.
PwC has 250 staff in Hong Kong, including 24 partners. It has welcomed back Tony Evangelista, who transferred to Hong Kong as a partner last month from its US practice.
Evangelista previously spent two years with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), where he helped to develop and review regulations for investment firms and advisers.
“One of the key issues we see clients facing now is the impact of Dodd-Frank [reforms],” says Marie-Anne Kong, PwC Assurance Asset Management leader for Hong Kong. “If firms are registered with the SEC, they need to stay informed of requirements and make sure they are in line. That is why we are bringing dedicated resources to help us expand our regulatory practice.”
Earlier this year AsianInvestor carried out a survey with Clifford Chance which found that Asia's fund industry may be blind to the wave of US and European regulatory change.
PwC also announced that Carlyon Knight-Evans, the former asset management sector leader for Asia-Pacific at rival Ernst & Young, was due to join PwC in Hong Kong as a partner this December, in news broken by AsianInvestor.
Knight-Evans has experience in advising asset management firms on business growth and will continue to focus on the hedge fund industry, where Kong says PwC has seen double-digit growth in revenues over the past five years.
While Kong declines to reveal Asia-Pacific or Hong Kong revenue figures, globally, PwC’s gross revenues for 2010 rose marginally year-on-year to $26.6 billion.
Further, PwC sees a new partner in the shape of Angelica Kwan, who joins from Sidley Austin in New York. She is now working in PwC’s US tax consulting group in Hong Kong after practicing as a tax lawyer in the US for 15 years, advising on fund formation and the acquisition of portfolio companies. She will continue to focus on US tax and compliance issues for funds and individuals.
Evangelista and Knight-Evans both report to Kong, who took over the Hong Kong practice from Robert Grome after he moved to Singapore last year as PwC Asset Management leader for Asia-Pacific. Kwan reports to Tony Tong, the firm’s US tax leader based in Hong Kong.