updated 2:07 AM CEST, May 17, 2022

EY acquires London-based Frank Hirth tax specialists

Above, map from the EY website, showing its global network of offices Above, map from the EY website, showing its global network of offices

Ernst & Young – or EY, as it's increasingly known in the market – the London-based, globally-focused accounting and professional services firm,  has acquired Frank Hirth Plc, the U.S. and UK personal tax specialists.

News of the acquisition came in the form of a statement posted earlier this month on the EY UK website.

The cost of the acquisition and other financial details weren't given.

The statement said that some "195 employees, serving 4,000 clients of Frank Hirth, will form part of the acquired business, soon to be operating as EY Frank Hirth Ltd.," and that these employees would be joining EY's Private Tax teams.

As a result of the acquisition, the EY Private Tax professionals business now employs more than 550 people across the UK, the statement added. 

The acquisition was further described as "expected to drive forward the EY ambition to be a leading organisation in private tax services, and to provide clients with a high quality service, insights and experience, as they face the increasing complexity of UK and U.S. tax issues."

Loss of Hirth's Paul Hocking in 2018

News of the deal comes less than three years after Frank Hirth announced that its long-time head and well-known U.S. expat tax expert, Paul Hocking, had died suddenly in an accident while in Africa.

At the time of his death, Hocking had headed up the firm for more than 42 years, and the news rocked the U.K.’s American expat community and wider tax industry.

Robyn Limmer, who succeeded Hocking as Frank Hirth's chief executive – and who is now a senior partner with EY Frank Hirth Ltd., said that it had been "clear...throughout our discussions with EY professionals that we [and they] share common values and goals, and so this has felt like a natural fit from day one."

He added: "This is a great chance for us to come together, to propel our collective U.S. and UK private client businesses to a new level, whilst maintaining and enhancing the exceptional client service we are known for.

"The business of Frank Hirth coming into the EY organisation is an exciting proposition, and one that we know our people will embrace to fulfil their individual potential.”

EY global vice chair Kate Barton noted that the fact that the cross-border tax landscape was "increasingly complex and extremely fast moving" meant that both firms would benefit from the ability to exchange insight and knowledge they'd gleaned over the decades "in relation to UK and U.S. tax."

According to the Frank Hirth website prior to the acquisition by EY, the firm had originally been established in 1975 as a firm of chartered accountants known as Frank Hirth & Co., which offered general accounting and tax services, but which specialized in U.S. and UK tax compliance. It was incorporated as a PLC in 2000, and in 2008, opened a New York City outpost, Frank Hirth LLC. It also maintained an office in Wellington, New Zealand.