EY announced today a growth of 10.9% in its turnover generated in Luxembourg with revenues up in all service lines, after already a 10.6% growth last year.
Total net revenues for the financial year ending 30 June 2018 amounted to € 215 million(FY18).
“We are very pleased to achieve again a strong revenue growth of 10.9% this year, with sales increasing in all our practice areas. Over the past 24 months, EY has thus grown its business in the Luxembourg market by over 22%. We are particularly proud of our advisory practice which demonstrated a very good performance this year with 26.2% growth, as well as our audit practice which has continued a journey of uninterrupted market leading growth for more than nine years now, achieving this year 11.0% growth”, says Alain Kinsch, Country Managing Partner at EY Luxembourg.
At EY, audit quality is — and will always remain — an unrelenting focus, living up to EY’s reputation. Through a combination in strong investment in the local Luxembourg market, specialization by industry sector and continued investments in digital technology and global audit methodologies, the EY Luxembourg assurance practice achieved its best growth rate for the past 8 years with 11.0% revenue growth, further strengthening its position as the second largest audit practice in Luxembourg. Alain Kinsch continues “over the last five years, our audit practice has grown by 50% and over the past nine years it has doubled. This is a remarkable performance for what is described as a rather mature business and is a tribute to the confidence our clients are putting in our EY audit partners and professionals to deliver high quality audits and provide excellent client service”.
The advisory practice achieved a significant growth with revenues up by 26.2%, which is the result of a strong demand from its clients to support them with cutting-edge managed reporting services, producing KIDs, assist them with the implementation of the regulatory agenda – MIFID, PRIIPS, GDPR – , advise Private Equity (PE) and Real Estate (RE) Houses on implementing best in class operating platforms or help them implementing extensive changes in their operating and governance models in the context of Brexit. However, the success of the advisory practice can also be attributed to providing EY’s clients with services for digital and technologies, including intelligent automation, data analytics and cybersecurity, among others, which also contributed to the strong growth this year.
EY’s commitment to helping its clients adapt to the rapidly changing tax environment, as well as assisting them with their reporting obligations, in particular for tax compliance and transfer pricing, led to a revenue growth of the EY Luxembourg tax practice of 6.6% this year.
“In brief, our growth can be explained by our commitment not just to keep pace, but also stay ahead of the vast disruption in today’s business world. In this respect, we have been redefining how we use technology to transform and strengthen our traditional and new service offerings across all businesses, to better meet the needs of our clients. Even more, our significant and innovative investments in cutting-edge solutions in the areas of digital, IT advisory and transfer pricing, inter alia, have driven growth and supported our delivery of high-quality services”.
Although, it should also not be forgotten that more clients have turned to EY for our proven experience and reputation in alternative funds, including PE and RE, which have now become part of a continuing success story. Last but not least, we welcome the efforts of our talented professionals who made a very large contribution to our growth, also enhancing our commitment to recruiting at a high rate and strive for the ongoing development of our people”, concludes Alain Kinsch.
EY Global: key achievements
On a global level, EY announced combined global revenues of US$34.8b for FY18. Overall, FY18 revenues grew by 7.4% in local currency (versus FY17). All EY service lines delivered strong growth in FY18: in local currency Assurance grew 4.4%, Advisory 10.1%, Tax 6.4% and Strategy and Transactions 13.9%.
Overall, headcount increased by 5.7%, to over 260,000 people globally. In FY18, 747 people were promoted to partner and more than 400 new external partners were admitted.
Additionally, revenue increased across all four of the EY geographic areas: the Americas 7.4%; Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA) 6.9%; Asia-Pacific 10.5% and Japan 3.1%.
A leading employer
In September 2018, 220 professionals, representing 41 nationalities, including a majority of young graduates, but also experienced professionals, coming from a multitude of cultural, economic and educational backgrounds, and from many of the best schools and universities, joined EY Luxembourg. We expect to reach 1.400 professionals in the course of FY19, representing 69 nationalities.
“EY continues to transform its approach to talent, providing meaningful career opportunities and enabling EY people to develop “hot” skills”. We are proud that our newly recruited professionals specialized in economics, finance, accounting and tax, but also contain various experts in data science, engineering, and digital with a strong potential, have also decided to join EY Luxembourg. Our country can be defined as a dynamic and flexible ecosystem, which has made it possible to create a unique connection among all local economic stakeholders, making one of its highest priorities innovation and new technologies, and providing a wealth of resources and opportunities for the business world. Last but not least, there is a very good quality of life in Luxembourg”, Alain Kinsch highlights.
Both globally and locally, EY continues to be recognized on prestigious lists for its outstanding people culture. It also continues to be the world’s most attractive professional services employer for business students according to Universum’s annual “World’s Most Attractive Employer” ranking, and fourth overall behind Apple, Google and Goldman Sachs.
Patricia Gudiño Jonas, People Partner at EY Luxembourg, explains: “for the current financial year, we will continue to expand the recruitment of advisory professionals to meet the talent needs of our fast growing practice on the different service offerings. On the assurance practice, we have welcomed over 120 young professionals in September with professional backgrounds ranging from economics, finance and accounting to data analytics and digital - who are being prepared to play their part in bringing confidence to capital markets with our new innovative tools and technologies. Finally, as last year, our transaction and tax groups have recruited a steady number of professionals to support the growth of their activities. In order to increase our efficiency in fulfilling the constantly moving recruitment targets, our recruitment function is going through a restructuring phase which pairs strong project management with digital tools and robotics.”
“Our investments in people and new technologies not only help our firm succeed in the market, but sustains its role in building a better working world. For the financial year ending 30 June 2019, our commitment is based on measures on career progression, investment in new skills, people engagement scores, attrition rates and diversity and inclusiveness, which, for the latter, remains a top priority”, adds Patricia Gudiño Jonas.
POINT OF VIEWS
EY Luxembourg is committed to continuing its own digital transformation, leveraging its paperless office, and thus encouraging people to work in the new digital economy. EY is also developing the capability to perform audit by leveraging on clients’ data. For the year to come, a team of Assurance data analysts will work closely with EY’s core auditors. Robots will be implemented to perform certain audit tasks. EY’s clients will be given access to a global repository of tax information or automation to perform tax compliance reporting and tax optimization work, with the new Tax Reclaim platform for example. EY is presently launching its OneDigital Advisory team enabling clients to access to a central team of local experts specialized in among others, Robotics, Data Science, Blockchain, Cloud and IoTs, also bringing to Luxembourg the best of the EY Global Network and Wavespace labs. The EY local practice has embed in its Digital Services and, by the way in its own Digital transformation, the services of local digital startups, contributing de facto to their growth and establishment in Luxembourg. EY aspires to continue to pioneer in the Digital field to provide its clients leaner, faster and integrated Digital solutions and create a unique experience for EY people as they are emerged in the digital world every day.
Today, we live in an age of innovation, where digital transformation is disrupting everything we do, especially in the banking industry. Leaving behind the impact of a decade of regulatory change programs on a global, European and local level, the banking industry has now optimized its business operating model, in response to their economic, social and technological environment. Banks still need to keep control over cost and compliance matters, which have never been so crucial as today. Monetary policies are compressing interest margins and significantly lowering revenues. In addition to such challenges, the banking sector needs to develop and execute an agile business strategy that enables banks to adapt to a constantly changing digital environment, thereby seizing opportunities and managing risks at every stage of their value chain.
The future belongs to the most innovative and will stimulate new market players mixing up the financial sector, with the so-called FinTechs. Furthermore, BigTech companies are also set to be the next major sector to embark the financial market. Both providing solutions with regard to compliance matters or risk management, blockchain and cryptocurrency, security and authentication, Big Data analytics, automated services or mobile and e-payments. Such a dynamic and competitive environment puts pressure on the banking industry with regard to deployment of products and services, including the collaboration with new, innovative partners.
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies allow the banking industry to generate new business and to process more efficiently to significantly reduce fees. However, the operating model needs to be adjusted on a protocol and application level in terms of scalability, functionality, privacy, and confidentiality. With the help of both the Luxembourg supervisory authority CSSF, and its tax administration, the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg is looking to create more legal certainty in this area, and to contribute to the growth in Europe.
Key priorities like intelligent automation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) will be mandatory for a successful bank in the near future in order to increase efficiency while reducing cost. Operational efficiency has never been more relevant than now for Luxembourg organizations, so that Luxembourg can remain competitive and position itself to grow further for the future. Robotics process automation is an agile solution to bring AI into production modus while providing a distinctive ability to operate across different banking applications and across various departments inter alia Back Office, Finance and Accounting, HR, IT or Customer Services. For banks, AI plays an important role in improved risk management, as it has great potential on fraud detection and prevention (e.g., big data analytics).
Also, the Global Data Protection Regulation and the revised Payment Services Directive still cause regulatory pressure with a tremendous impact on Luxembourg resident banks, especially with a focus on data and security. However, the new “Open Banking”, a system which allows to share the information and financial data of clients, held by the banks, with a third party, might soon become reality. The collection and storage of sensitive digital information have empowered the banking industry to create new markets and deliver services more effectively to their customers. As data volume and sources continue to grow, threat actors are increasing their activities, and defense efforts have become largely ineffective in keeping pace. Banks now have greater areas of exposure and increase vulnerability due to mobile technology, third party risk and malicious insiders. Enhancing cyber and data security is the number one priority for banks. A robust and tested cyber breach response plan, activated immediately as soon as a breach is identified, is commonly regarded as the best chance of minimizing the impact of a cyberattack.
For the Luxembourg banking industry, time has now come to embrace all the above mentioned new challenges in order to transform them into business opportunities. Becoming more digitally mature while completing the transition from regulatory-driven transformation to innovation-led change in order to insulate banks from future downturns. Furthermore, the Luxembourg financial center is an ideal banking landscape for private and institutional investors from all over the world, due to its stable, innovative and international orientation. Today, Luxembourg’s banking landscape is composed of 138 registered banks from 29 different countries including Japan, Brazil, Qatar and China, meaning an internationalization rate of 96.5%, the highest in Europe.
In the post-Brexit world, the financial industry wants to have operations across the European Union (EU), so that no one country can ever upset their entire EU business again. The Luxembourg banking industry sees a strong interest from London based banks for solutions offered in the Grand-Duchy. In many cases, Luxembourg will be selected to replace London for European operations and is already recognized as a private banking hub but can safely claim victory in the race to become the EU’s private banking hub.
EY provides a wide range of services - from Assurance to Consulting and Tax - to start-ups for local and international purposes. EY has played an increased role in the international Startup Ecosystem mainly through its support to the Startup World Cup and its collaboration with LuxInnovation for attracting start-ups and help them establish themselves sustainably in Luxembourg. This year will be marked by the deployment of EY start-up growth accelerator services. EY will continue to establish long-term partnerships with a selection of start-ups, with a focus on ICT, Fintech, Automotive/Industry/Logistics 4.0 serving the Luxembourg economy key pillars. All this, together with the EYnovation program will help the EY Luxembourg office develop new skills and new career opportunities for EY people as many of them will be involved in coaching initiatives. EY Luxembourg will continue to connect start-ups to large Corporates, Financial Institutions and small-to-medium size entities. EY also aims to support local start-ups by integrating them into its services and its own Digital initiative (i.e., recruiting platform, innovative chatbots and robotics providers).