Scottish accounting heavyweight Johnston Carmichael has opened its first office outside of Scotland as it looks to drive “ambitious” expansion plans for its financial services offering.
The accountancy and business advisory firm has launched a base in London, boosting its UK footprint to 13 sites and introducing the first non-Scottish premises in its 83-year history.
Johnston Carmichael said it is aiming to capitalise on London’s financial services scene by exploiting opportunities created by digitalisation, evolving customer requirements and socio-economic factors such as Brexit.
Last year the firm, which has identified financial services as one of its fastest growing business areas, led a high profile independent review of ten proposed Royal Bank of Scotland branch closures.
Partner Ewen Fleming, who joined Johnston Carmichael in March and has more than 30 years of experience in financial services, will lead the London office.
He said: “With London and Edinburgh well established as the UK’s key financial services hubs, launching an office in the UK capital is the obvious next step for Johnston Carmichael in expanding its financial services offering.
“It will enable us to work much more closely with our clients based in the south-east of England and it’s also important to building our network of contacts, including potential new staff as we add to our growing team.”
Fleming is based between the London office, at Birchin Court in the heart of the City, and Johnston Carmichael’s Edinburgh site on Melville Street. His areas of expertise include retail banking, wealth management and business consulting. Recent hires for the City office also include manager Sam Church, formerly of Grant Thornton, and consulting senior Hyder Cheema, formerly of EY.
The UK financial services industry is among the biggest worldwide and in 2018 contributed £132 billion to the UK economy, representing 6.9 per cent of total economic output. Almost half (49 per cent) of this output was generated in London.
Chief executive Andrew Walker said: “Our London office is a very significant step forward for our firm. Although we already carry out a range of cross-border work, this is our first permanent geographical base outside of Scotland.
“The UK has a long and proud history of providing financial services; indeed, it is where some of the world’s first banks were established.
“Our London office is central to achieving our ambitious aims.”
Johnston Carmichael is a member of PKF International, a global network of accountancy firms operating in 440 cities.