BDO's 40-strong Thailand team switches to rival network HLB

12 October 2020 Consultancy.asia

BDO has seen its member firms in Thailand switch to rival professional services network HLB, but has been quick on its feet to fill the gap with a new leadership team. 

At the start of the month, HLB announced that it had motivated the full team of BDO Thailand – a circa 40-strong practice – to leave the number four accounting heritage professional services network to join its ranks. With nearly 30,000 partners and staff generating revenues of $2.9 billion, HLB is smaller than BDO ($9.6 billion), ranking 18th globally in terms of fee income. 

But according to Andrew Jackomos and Paul Ashburn, the Co-Managing Partners of the former BDO Thailand, size is not the only factor to consider when being part of a global group, because “we now have the opportunity to better serve our clients in Thailand.” And so, “we are thrilled to be joining HLB.” 

Andrew Jackomos, Paul Ashburn, Coco Liu

Jackomos and Ashburn have been leading the firm since they founded it back in 2003. Based in Bangkok, the new HLB Thailand is one of the leading professional services firms in the Greater Bangkok region, with expertise in audit and assurance, tax advisory including transfer pricing and outsourcing, and business consulting. The client base is broad, and focuses on mid-sized companies in construction, manufacturing and hospitality. 

Prior to founding the firm, Australian nationals Jackomos and Ashburn both worked at Big Four firm KPMG, and prior to relocating from Australia, Jackomos served PwC while Ashburn worked for Pitcher Partners (now a member of the Baker Tilly network). 

HLB already had a presence in Thailand through its offices in Phuket and Samui. “The new team will work in close collaboration with our existing Thai member firm, to create even greater value and synergies between this important market and the rest of the world,” said Coco Liu, Chief Regional Officer for Asia Pacific at HLB.

The news comes within a month of a similar move in Tajikistan, where HLB poached BDO’s Dushanbe-based member firm led by Managing Partner Kamol Rahmiov. 

BDO determined to rebuild

Meanwhile, at BDO, within five days of HLB’s announcement the firm sent out a press statement that it has installed a new team to represent its brand in the Thai market. The team is led by a group of partners that have “an extensive track record in partner roles within BDO and its competitors,” said Stephen Darley, BDO’s Regional CEO for Asia Pacific. 

The four-strong leadership team has been tasked with continuing the firm’s business domestically, and rebuilding the team to its previous size. “Their experience combined with BDO’s established reputation in the market will deliver new paths for growth and success in Thailand,” added Darley.

The leaders are Noel Ashpole, who leads the Advisory division; Teerasak (Ko) Chuasrisakul, who leads Audit & Assurance services; and Peter Sheville, who heads the Business Services and Outsourcing service line. Matt Cutt, a former audit partner with BDO in Australia, has been installed as the international liaison partner for BDO Thailand.

Ashpole said: “We are fully committed to the Thai market and aim to grow the team to 50+ by early 2021.”


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