Big Four firms KPMG and Deloitte celebrate milestones in Malaysia

20 April 2018

Two of the acclaimed Big Four accounting and advisory firms are currently celebrating their milestones in Malaysia, with KPMG notching its ninetieth year of service in the country and Deloitte blowing out the candles on fifty.

Tracing its local history back to a small accounting firm established in 1928 in Ipoh, a former tin-mining town 110 miles north of now capital Kuala Lumpur in the state of Perak, KPMG can lay claim to the being the oldest professional accounting services firm in country – tying their official ninetieth anniversary to the recent Chinese Lunar New Year.

With such a heritage, KPMG in Malaysia can also boast of being older than Mickey Mouse, bearing witness to the first transatlantic television transmission from the inventor John Logie Baird, and outlasting the famed mathematician John Ford Nash – the inspiration for a Beautiful Mind who was born in the same year and passed in 2015.

Moreover, the local firm was in existence nearly three decades before the independent nation of Malaysia itself, and indeed, preceded the introduction of the electronic calculator by nearly the same. Needless to say, the firm has moved on somewhat from the days of the abacus, now at the very forefront of the digital revolution with a cutting-edge Cyber and Digital Hub established at its local KPMG Tower headquarters in Petaling Jaya last year.

Big Four firms KPMG and Deloitte celebrate milestones in Malaysia

To mark the beginning of its year-long celebrations, the local branch arranged for a traditional acrobatic lion and dragon performance at the same Petaling Jaya heart of its operations, attended by a number of Executive Committee members and Managing Partner Datuk Johan Idris, who said of the occasion; “When we consider how our history began 29 years before Malaysia gained independence, that’s when we realise just how rich our legacy is.”

Today, the firm has grown to eight locations across Malaysia, with a roster of 2,100 local professionals, and is the oldest KPMG member firm among the more than 25 offices of Southeast Asia, stretching from Myanmar to the Philippines and everywhere in between. Recently, the local branch was voted the seventh-most desired employer in Malaysia through a survey of Malaysian graduate students.

Meanwhile, a few kilometers across town, KPMG’s fellow Big Four professional services firm Deloitte has been celebrating a significant milestone of its own – marking 50 years in business in what is now Southeast Asia’s fourth largest economy. And while not quite yet the display of longevity of its rival, Deloitte’s golden jubilee in the country is certainly nothing to sniff at.

Dating its heritage back to the founding of Kassim Chan & Co. in 1968, the firm was in operation still barely the decade after the declaration of Malaya independence, and has since likewise grown to dot the map with eight offices across the country, hosting some 1,800 professional employees and over 130 directors and partners. Altogether, Deloitte Southeast Asia has a headcount of 8,000 across 25 regional offices, and continues to expand, with Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos added to its local regional over the past few years.


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Asia-based BCG-backed tech fund B Capital raises a further $400 million

09 April 2019

The BCG-backed B Capital Group has raised over $400 million in the first close of its second fund. Based in Singapore, B Capital has now raised $766 million across two funds.

Established by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and ex-BCG Senior Advisor Jav Ganguly in 2016 – and backed by Boston Consulting Group from the outset – the Singapore-based venture capital firm B Capital has according to a US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing secured $406.1 million in commitments at the first close of its second fund – adding to $360 million raised last year for its first fund.

Launched toward the end of March, the second B Capital Fund has so far attracted 62 investors, and although a final close date or target hasn’t been disclosed, an unnamed source told Forbes that the VC firm is looking to double the size of its first fund. Meanwhile, B Capital has already built up a portfolio of 19 start-ups, with a focus on technology in the healthcare, financial services, industrial logistics and consumer enablement segments, and a particular eye to the Southeast Asia and India markets.

“We continue to strive to be a launch pad for entrepreneurs across a wide range of verticals and seek to provide our portfolio companies with the necessary resources and access to some of the most important business leaders,” said Saverin, who moved to Singapore in 2009. “We are committed to helping the next generation of entrepreneurs deliver transformative technology to the world and are strategically positioned to disrupt the realm of venture investing.”Asia-based BCG-backed tech fund B Capital raises a further $400 million Anchored by BCG, and partnering with BCG’s Digital Venture’s incubation arm, B Capital styles itself as a bridge between the innovative tech start-up realm and leading global corporate incumbents – bolstered by BCG’s deep client network (some 1,800 globally according to the consulting firm) and domain expertise in the investment fund’s areas of focus. Further, B Capital and BCG work together to uncover the most promising areas of investment.

“We partnered with the Boston Consulting Group because of their unique insights into the industries that we invest in and their unparalleled access to the world’s leading corporations,” said B Capital’s Ganguly, who in addition to spending the past six years with BCG served as a senior vice president at Bain Capital during the prior six. Earlier, Ganguly spent three years as a senior manager at MBB rival McKinsey & Company.

“It is inspiring to be backed by investors who recognise that our combined extensive experience as entrepreneurs and business creators provides a unique and valuable perspective as to how we support and provide capital to our portfolio companies,” adds Ganguly. “Our first-hand experience building and scaling enduring businesses has allowed us to bridge an important gap connecting entrepreneurs in need of resources to scale their businesses with corporations seeking to innovate and leverage emerging technologies.”

With B Capital said to be aiming to invest $20 million in each portfolio company, including reserves for future growth funding, Southeast Asian and Indian investments to date include Singapore short-term financing match-making platform Capital Match, ASEAN last-mile logistics provider Ninja Van, Carro – a Singapore-based vehicle sales and subscription service, and India’s Mswipe, a mobile point-of-sales solution.

“Whether it is funding availability, stage, talent, institutions, or exits, the presence of such whitespaces in the ecosystem makes it equally challenging and rewarding for investors,” Saverin and Ganguly wrote of the gaps in the Southeast Asian and Indian investment space in a founding post on LinkedIn. “We are very excited and bullish in the long run because we see the opportunity to bridge that gap and make a positive impact in a community of two billion people.”