Brexit vote worries brushed aside as EY grows income

Mark Harvey, EY senior partner, said the business was going from strength to strength. Picture: contributed

Mark Harvey, EY senior partner, said the business was going from strength to strength. Picture: contributed

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Professional services giant EY has enjoyed solid full-year growth at its UK operations despite a pre-Brexit vote blip and has seen its Scottish headcount pass through the 1,000 “milestone”.

Figures released today show that UK fee income grew by 
7 per cent to £2.15 billion for the year to 1 July, compared with the previous 12 months. This takes the firm’s compound annual growth rate over the last five years to 8 per cent, adding almost £700 million to its revenues.

EY said that the slow-down in the run up to June’s EU referendum “reduced the momentum” of the firm’s overall performance. However, all key service areas and regions managed to grow.

Distributable profits before tax rose by 3 per cent from £437m to £452m.

During the period, the firm recruited more than 4,000 people across its UK operations, including in excess of 1,500 student places. There were 62 new equity partners who joined the business, compared with the record 95 admitted a year earlier.

Across the four Scottish offices – Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness – EY saw 123 new joiners while 131 promotions were made in the last financial year.

Mark Harvey, EY senior partner, Scotland, said: “Our business is going from strength to strength in Scotland.

“Our footprint on the ground has increased to a record high of more than 1,000 people with 38 partners dedicated to the Scottish market including three internal promotions. This provides just a snapshot of our commitment to Scotland and the Scottish economy.”

He added: “Financial services remains a strong performer for EY in Scotland and is in a market leading position to respond to and embrace the challenges and opportunities for the sector.”

Steve Varley, the firm’s UK chairman, said: “There have been a variety of economic and political headwinds affecting global growth with the uncertainty around the impact of Brexit being one of a number of challenges that companies are having to consider.

“However, I am confident that our global structure and deep sector experience will continue to be a differentiator. We are already seeing signs of an improving market with activity levels picking up in our first quarter of the new financial year.”

Financial services, the firm’s largest industry sector, reported a record year, growing revenues by 12.7 per cent, with both the “banking and capital markets” and “wealth and asset management” divisions increasing by more than 15 per cent.

Earlier this month, EY announced that its global revenues had grown by 9 per cent to $29.6 billion (£23.3bn) in the year to the end of June.

It said it was looking to plough “significant investment” into analytics, artificial intelligence and robotics as it notched up record revenue growth for the sixth year running.

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