FTI Consulting launches Asia Vision - its ambitious plan for the region

08 January 2023 Consultancy.asia 6 min. read
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Global professional services firm FTI Consulting has launched its ‘Asia Vision’ – a five-year growth plan with aspirations to double the size of the company. To find out more about the bold ambition, we sat down with Jon Rowell, Leader of FTI Consulting’s Asia and the Caribbean division.

The Asia Vision for FTI Consulting charts an ambitious growth plan. Where will the growth come from?

We have aspirations to be the leading expert-driven consulting firm in the region by investing behind our existing strong positions and expanding into adjacent areas that are complementary to our core capabilities.

While we actively evaluate and consider opportunistic acquisitions, we are first and foremost committed on a day-in, day-out basis to grow organically by promoting, developing and attracting talented professionals who can strengthen and build leading positions in areas of critical client needs.

Jon Rowell, Leader of Asia and the Caribbean, FTI Consulting

In fairness, this is a continuation of the journey we have been on over the last five years during which we delivered record revenues each year, more than doubled our earnings per share and quadrupled our stock price. Even during the pandemic, a time when the industry was making cuts, we continued to invest because we knew we had strong people and positions.

Our growth trajectory over the last five years has helped us attract the best professionals in the market, professionals who have worked side by side our global clientele when they are facing their most significant challenges and opportunities.

Since January 2020 we have recruited 34 senior experts at Senior Managing Director and Managing Director levels across a range of disciplines to support our growing Asia business and our clients’ evolving needs.

In the last 12 months, we have driven a set of bold bets that have made our business more relevant to our clients and more resilient for our people. We have extended our leading positions, launching our Corporate Finance & Restructuring segment in Japan, our Capital Solutions business in Hong Kong, our Managed Services practice for Asia and a Fund Administration Services practice in the Cayman Islands.

In China we invested boldly behind our Business Transformation and Strategic Communications offerings. Those bets have positioned our China business on a strong growth trajectory.

This is in addition to senior hires across our core offerings supporting the global business and legal community in areas such as insolvency and restructuring, complex investigations, business intelligence, cybersecurity, e-discovery, quantification of economic losses and construction delay and quantum analysis in disputes, ESG advisory, reputation management, public affairs, sanctions and financial crime compliance.

Among the geographies we are in currently, the Hong Kong and Singapore businesses are very well established, and we have ambitions to continue to invest behind our strong people and positions while strengthening our presence in other countries in which we operate. In particular, we see great opportunities in China, and have the aspiration of further building the team and providing a wider selection of services for our clients.

A number of your recent senior hires are joining from the Big Four. Are you benefitting from disruption at the big accounting firms?

I can’t speak for the Big Four, but FTI Consulting is an increasingly attractive platform for senior professionals in the region seeking an independent operation. We are a highly collaborative, yet entrepreneurial organisation that leverages our global platform to win the most complex cross-border matters, as we are not bound by a partnership model.

Sustainable growth in professional services results from attracting, developing and promoting great professionals with ambitions to grow their businesses. For FTI Consulting, it means a focus on a coaching and development culture and a robust learning and development programme. We were delighted to bring back our annual in-person Milestone Programs for newly hired and promoted professionals in each of our segments and regions.

These are tremendous opportunities for our people not only to learn the skills they need to succeed as they move through the organisation, but also to network with their peers and build connections that will enhance their professional and personal lives. Globally, employees reported an 88% satisfaction rating for talent development courses in 2021.

When seeking to attract talent to our platform we believe that diversity and our focus on being an inclusive employer is an important strategic focus. A particular focus for us in Asia and globally is to increase the number of female leaders in our business. We have a target to increase the number of female Senior Managing Directors by 65% from our 2020 figures, and globally we are on track to date to meet those targets.

Will FTI Consulting’s growth aspirations be hampered by ‘The Great Resignation’?

The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly been a time of reflection for all. Internally at FTI Consulting it meant a review of how we support our clients and our working environments. Our people shared a desire for a more agile workplace strategy and subsequently we have created a more flexible environment to better support our people, which in turn, allow them to better support our clients.

We have created new workspaces in Hong Kong, Mumbai and Singapore to cater for a more flexible and collaborative working environment and we have also invested in technology across the region to achieve the same goal.

We have also seen as a result of the pandemic a greater interest from our teams in corporate citizenship and sustainability initiatives. Our corporate citizenship efforts are focused on supporting volunteering, pro bono work and charitable gift matching, in order to foster meaningful impact in the communities in which we operate and provide our employees the opportunity to thrive both personally and professionally.

Globally FTI Consulting professionals supported more than 1,200 charitable organisations in 2021 through the company’s corporate citizenship programme with our professionals providing more than 5,400 volunteer hours.

In Asia, we are active supporters of Club Rainbow in Singapore, we are community sponsors for Sandy Bay Rugby Club in Hong Kong, and were headline sponsors for the Inaugural Hong Kong Legal Walk, which aims to bring the legal community together to raise funds for four local charities.

From a pro bono perspective, FTI Consulting has provided over $4.3 million in pro bono services in 2021. In Asia this includes a recent effort to support the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children through helping financial institutions recognise child exploitation through compliance programmes.

We hope that through our efforts to support our people personally and professionally with their ambitions, and to meet their expectations of us as an employer of choice, they will continue to consider FTI Consulting as a platform for success for them as individuals and as a collective group.

We have never had as many great people or positions to bet behind, and these bets – these opportunities – make me ever more excited about where we are going to take this company over the next few years.