Andersen Global, the international association founded almost six years ago by San Francisco-based Andersen Tax LLC, said it has hit a major milestone in its ongoing global expansion campaign, with the signing up of a law firm in Zambia as its newest official Andersen "collaborating firm."
The signing of a "collaboration agreement" by Lusaka-based Mulenga Mundashi Kasonde Legal Practitioners (MMKLP) brings to 50 the number of countries in which Andersen Global now has a presence, the company said in a statement.
Led by five partners, MMKLP has been advising clients in corporate mergers and acquisitions, tax, litigation, and labor and industrial resolutions since 1999. The firm, now in its twentieth year, is one of the largest law firms in Zambia, according to the Andersen Global announcement.
It represents Andersen Global's eleventh African outpost, and brings the number of countries in which it has either member or collaborating firms which offer legal services to 41.
Mark Vorsatz, the former Arthur Andersen partner who has been quietly reviving the Andersen name and ethos almost since the day it collapsed as a result of the Enron scandal, said hitting "the 50-country mark" represented a "significant" milestone for his organization and all its partners.
"The fact that we are able to expand our legal services to touch over 40 countries across five continents allows us to really offer comprehensive business solutions on a global scale," Vorsatz, pictured left, who is chief executive of Andersen Tax LLC as well as chairman of its global entity, added.
Andersen Global describes itself as "an international association of legally separate, independent member firms comprised of tax and legal professionals around the world," that was formally established by its parent in 2013, and now employs more than 4,000 individuals around the world, in more than 139 locations.
Andersen Tax was established by Vorsatz and 22 other former Arthur Andersen partners in July 2002, as an HSBC USA subsidiary known as Wealth and Tax Advisory Services (WTAS), to continue to look after some of the clients of the by-then-defunct Arthur Andersen.
An MBO followed in 2007, and in 2014 WTAS, and its international operation WTAS Global, acquired the Andersen brand name from the legacy entity which still owned it.
The collapse of Arthur Andersen in 2002 is still seen by many who used to work at the firm as an unspeakably sad ending for what they saw as a special business, in spite of its size: at its height, right before it came apart, it was one of the "Big Five" accounting firms and a major multinational financial firm.
Many of the employees and partners Vorsatz has recruited to Andersen Tax and the member firms of Andersen Global in recent years are said to be former Arthur Andersen employees and partners, who, insiders say, are attracted in part by the idea that they’re “coming home.”
Founded in 1913 in Chicago by a former accounting professor from Northwestern University named Arthur Andersen, the firm was soon well known throughout the accounting industry for its generous approach to training new employees, and a sense that all employees, including management, had a duty to make the place better than they found it.
Although the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005 ultimately reversed the decision concerning its auditing of Enron, which caused it to collapse three years earlier, the damage had been done.
Andersen Global today focuses on tax and legal work and doesn't do auditing, possibly reflecting its history. This seems not to have mattered, as the focus for major international tax firms around the world at the moment – including such firms as EY, KPMG, Deloitte and PwC – is on offering clients legal services in addition to their tax offerings.