EY hires ex-BLP finance head Kellett to launch UK financial services legal team

Former Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) head of finance Matthew Kellett is leaving the firm to join accountancy and consulting giant EY as it ramps up its investment in the legal sector.

Kellett, who will officially join EY in September, will head EY’s legal capability in its financial services sector.

Kellett said: “EY are looking to win work that’s ancillary to existing business. The strategy is to grow financial services organically from its existing client base and by capturing business thrown off by those clients. The legal side is not going for big-ticket M&A.”

EY is known to have applied for an ABS licence but has not yet gained full regulatory approval.

EY is run on a sectoral basis, so Kellett’s hire is not directly connected with the recruitment of corporate managing partner Phillip Goodstone from Addleshaw Goddard (27 March 2014). Nor is it directly attached to EY’s push in Asia (20 February 2014).

However, it underlines EY’s intention across the board to take market share from law firms, said Kellett.

He added: “We’re not knitting together anything that isn’t already knit together. Asia and the UK & Ireland corporate businesses are run separately. But EY see a natural adjacency and they want to capture the legal work and keep it.”

Kellett said that EY’s regional offices in Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow could be a part of the firm’s offering to clients. He said: “That’s our edge, we can disaggregate and push the agenda of delivering legal services in a different way.”

Kellett stepped down from his role at BLP finance head last year (30 October 2013). He has since been replaced by projects head Adam Dann after the firm carried out a review of its finance function (27 February 2014). A BLP spokesperson said: “We’re pleased for Matthew and wish him well at EY.”