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Returning to the ‘Big Four’

In a discussion with Simon Fahy on his re-appointment as director at EY, he reveals why he decided to leave nearly decade ago and how his expertise can help progress the big four firm.

How are you able to support the firm?

I will drive the new initiative to build a transaction strategy and execution (TSE) team in Belfast. Based locally, I will be a senior leader on the ground to lead the development of the practice and build relationships in the local market and with key stakeholders, including local universities to build a pipeline of talent.

What experience makes you suited to the role?

I have gained a range of transactions experience over the last 12 years with private equity and corporate clients split between the UK and North America. I have worked on a wide range of transactions, large and small, helping clients manage complex issues and maximise value realised from M&A activity.

Additionally, I have spent much of my career expanding teams and soI am well placed to drive the creation of the new team at EY over the next three years. My varied career has highlighted the value of having team members from different backgrounds and experiences. I have a particular focus on building diversity and an inclusive culture in the new team.

I also moved into professional services after five years in the industry and I have a strong understanding of what it takes to transition into a transactions environment from outside. I know the support and opportunities team members will need to be successful.

Why did you initially leave?

I left EY nine years ago for an opportunity to join a smaller team at a competitor going through a high expansion phase.

The learning from other firms, as well as my international experience in Canada means I have a broad range of perspectives from different firms and geographies that I can bring the best of to the new team in Belfast.

How is the Belfast office ‘integral’ to the firm’s wider TSE team?

The last two years have highlighted the ability of our teams to deliver on client engagements while working from different locations. At the same time, many of our clients are global and so there is a clear opportunity for the team to build outside of its traditional London base. In line with our clients, we have seen that the competition for talent in the London market is especially intense, which provides further incentive to continue the build of the team in other locations.

The Belfast team will support the continued expansion of TSE by establishing the first permanent presence in the UK outside of London. Belfast is the ideal location given the high levels of expansion and investment in the city and to be able to access the local talent pool.

EY operates with a common strategy and agenda across the UK and Ireland. The team in Belfast will be well placed to collaborate with colleagues in Dublin and London and other offices around the UK.

What ‘unique’ career opportunities does the TSE team offer, as described by Fahy?

TSE offers opportunities for professionals across operations, technology and cyber at all levels of seniority. It is also well practised at supporting people in these fields transitioning from industry, other professional services and education into a career in transactions. We have an established curriculum including classroom and on the job training to build the skills required to succeed in M&A.

Additionally, TSE provides transaction advice to assist corporate and private equity clients in realising the value proposition of their strategy via the integration or divestment of assets/businesses – getting involved early to help solve their most challenging issues.

The TSE team also collaborates with a wide range of other EY teams to help clients convert strategy into actionable plans and to support execution across transactions through transformation.

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