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PwC UK to invest in firm's Central and Eastern European growth

Ian Powell

London: PwC UK is to invest in the growth of PwC's Central and Eastern European (CEE) firm over the next three years, to enhance the CEE firm's industry and specialist expertise and strengthen its market lead in this region.

The firm says this commitment recognises the increasing demand from clients doing business in the region for professional and business services, a sector where the UK is recognised as being a world leader. PwC UK will focus on bringing in leading talent from the market as well as seconding specialist partners and directors to the CEE firm. Nick Page, a UK partner will join the management board of PwC CEE.

The support from PwC UK will centre on the geographies, industries and services which are likely to drive economic growth in the region — particularly the larger markets, such as Russia and Poland, as well as high growth economies, and key sectors including oil and gas, utilities, mining, financial services and the public sector.

Ian Powell, chairman and senior partner of PwC UK, commented, "We are investing in a region and part of our international network where there is significant potential for higher growth. It is critical that we are well positioned to help our clients, both in the UK and in Central and Eastern Europe, benefit from fast developing economies. This not only benefits our clients and firm, but is also good for the UK economy.

"We are confident about the future and are well placed for future success, both in the UK and internationally. We will continue to invest and export talent, to help our clients grow and give our people the opportunity to work in other countries."

Michael Kubena, CEO of PwC CEE, said, "As Central and Eastern European markets mature, our clients are demanding more from us, and we will need to bring more to the table if we want to retain and build on our number one market position. We need to bring broader, deeper and better integrated offerings that address their unique challenges. We began expanding our range of industry and technical capabilities several years ago, and have already had considerable success. This deal with the UK will allow us to accelerate investment in our business and more rapidly develop new skills and value propositions that will benefit our clients and drive sustainable profitable growth. At the same time, it will enable us to offer career development opportunities for our people."

PwC points out that professional and business support services is one of the most successful sectors in the UK economy, contributing 11.5% of total UK GDP — more than financial services or manufacturing. The sector has grown by nearly 4.5% a year over the past three years and has been one of the biggest job-creating sectors in the UK economy as well as a major contributor to UK exports.

A 2013 report by the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills — 'Growth is our business: A Strategy for Professional and Business Services (PBS)' — recognised the contribution of the professional and business services sector to the UK economy, and highlighted the opportunities in developing markets. According to the report, the UK's PBS sector exports totalled £47 billion in 2011, with a trade surplus of £19 billion.

According to PwC's 2013 Global Annual Review, one of the 'megatrends' that will transform the future of business around the world is the shift in the global balance of economic power from developed to developing countries. The next decade will see this rebalancing reach a tipping point, as emerging markets expand their global reach and influence still further. In 2009, the total gross domestic product (GDP) of the E7 — the world's seven leading emerging nations — was about two-thirds that of the G7, their developed counterparts. By 2050 these positions will be reversed, with the E7's aggregate GDP rising to almost double that of the G7.

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