Battles for talent between PwC & KPMG may become a war soon

pwc-kpmg-CareersBANGALORE | NEW DELHI: Battles for talent, brewing between advisory firms PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and KPMG for several months now, is now threatening to escalate into a full-blown war.

Last Monday, 30 mid-to-senior executives from PwC’s business consulting division resigned to join rival KPMG. At the same time, PwC is also gearing up to welcome almost half-a-dozen partners and 130 executives it has poached from KPMG’s forensics advisory business.

According to two people with direct knowledge, another 30 PwC professionals across levels are said to be considering leaving in the coming months, possibly to join KPMG. A PwC official, however, said the number of resignations were “significantly less than that”.

On the other hand, Sudhir Dungerpur, a senior partner from KPMG, is expected to join PwC this week and others from KPMG will come onto PwC’s roll in next 5-7 weeks, said a person familiar with the development.

This is likely to include Deepak Sanwalka, who headed KPMG’s 1,400-strong risk consulting division, other senior partners Dinesh Anand, Murli Talasaliya, Gaganpreet Puri and Arpita Pal and roughly 130 executives.

KPMG is keen to expand its business/operational consulting practice. It poached Ambarish Dasgupta from PwC in February to head this.

“I have no clue whether they are leaving PwC; and if they are leaving, where they are going ,” Dasgupta said when asked whether the 30 PwC consultants who resigned will be joining his team at KPMG. He is partner and the head of management consulting practice at KPMG India.

A person familiar with the developments says that endof-the-month collections or business targets have been the major source of uncertainty and disenchantment at PwC. While assurance and audit are assured businesses for the firm, advisory is about hunting for new clients and business . The advisory division is expected to get business worth about Rs 120 crore every year, according to this source.

“Our talent pool is widely respected and sought after in the industry today. While there have been a few resignations in our operations consulting, our advisory business is doing really well,” said Michael J Surface, head of PwC advisory in India. According to some executives ET spoke with, PwC is negotiating to retain some of the consultants.

Similarly, PwC, which is keen on strengthening its forensic advisory business, is storming KPMG for talent. The latter’s forensics division is the largest in the country and has been engaged in a number of high-profile forensics audits, such as for Reebok India and Bharti-Walmart. Some of the leading private sector banks, accused of indulging in money laundering by an online portal in March this year, had also engaged KPMG for a comprehensive internal enquiry.

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