Arthur Andersen-tied Garrett & Co is establishing a private client practice with the recruitment of Berwin Leighton trust partner Judith Powell.

Powell, a specialist in trusts and personal taxation and a partner at Berwin Leighton for 10 years, will be Garretts' first private client partner and will head the new department.

She will be based at Binder Hamlyn's offices at the Old Bailey. Accountancy firm Binder Hamlyn, which merged with Arthur Andersen several years ago, has historically had a strong private client practice.

Powell said she and Garretts managing partner Julia Chain had known each other for a long time.

Berwin Leighton's private client side, said Powell, had not been expanding or contracting. She said: “I recognised Garretts was much more likely to be expanding in an exciting way into private client work and I thought that was a good idea.”

Berwin Leighton's tax and trust department, which includes corporate as well as private client advisers, accounts for only five per cent of their fee income.

Department head John Overs said Powell would not be replaced “for the time being”. The private client section of his department now comprises one partner and one assistant. A second assistant will join the department shortly.