UK trio set to help propel German tax firm into City

Top German tax firm Haarmann Hemmelrath has named the three UK lawyers who are joining to help the firm open a London office.

Corporate law specialist Philip Newhouse arrives after 15 years as a partner at Taylor Joynson Garrett, Jay Birch joins from the Manchester office of Hammond Suddards and legally-qualified chartered accountant Peter Vaines is leaving West End firm Brebner Allen Trapp.

Completing the team will be two German partners, Claus Kohler and Norbert Jakobs. The outfit will be based in the former NatWest Tower in the City of London and will come together formally in April.

Haarmanns is now hunting for a banking partner and a swathe of senior associates and support staff. More than 50 people are expected to join in the next 18 months.

Haarmanns claims to be the first firm in the City to offer legal and tax advice under German and UK law.

Plans are already being drawn up for a US office to extend the firm’s reach.

Newhouse and Birch are bringing several undisclosed clients with them, while Kohler says he will soon announce which multinationals are joining the fold.

Vaines compares the move to “a transfer to Manchester United”.

He says: “I’ll be doing the same sort of work, sorting out tax for rich foreign nationals who live in Britain, but being with such a talented bunch of people should be extremely stimulating.”

Newhouse knows Haarmanns from when the firm had a relationship with Taylor Joynson Garrett – a union that broke apart in 1996. He is looking forward to capitalising on the UK’s status as a financial hub for international business deals, and to the collegiate atmosphere of his new office.

He says: “I wanted to change to a firm with a more international spread, and I don’t like the way some UK firms are following US ones in getting a corporate feel.”

Newhouse says Taylor Joynson has grown too large to have an effective partnership structure. But he emphasises that his departure has been amicable and he expects Taylor Joynson to continue to instruct Haarmanns after he leaves at the end of the financial year.

Kohler, a firm believer in growing organically rather than by mergers, says hiring laterally has enabled him to secure the best staff for all departments while avoiding the squabbling over names and profits that mergers can create.

Peter Thomas, senior partner at Brebner Allen Trapp, says he will be sad to see Vaines leave.

“I know it was a tough decision for him because he has worked with us throughout his career, and his father was with us before him. It’s the end of an era for the firm,” Thomas says.

Taylor Joynson and Hammond Suddards were unavailable for comment.