INSIDE HONG KONG’S COMMERCIAL CENTER: BUSINESS MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS & SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS
By Jennifer Khoo
Accenture has been recently named to Thomson Reuters’ inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Index, which ranks the 100 most diverse and inclusive companies in the world. Accenture ranked No. 18 on the list, and it reflects a commitment to going beyond current industry workplace best practices to create new standards for learning and development, inclusion and diversity.
Some recent initiatives include an investment of US$841 million in employee learning and development in the fiscal year of 2015, and expanding parental benefits in markets around the world, including India, Philippines and the United States, to help its people navigate the challenges of raising a family while continuing to pursue their careers.
To compile the Index, Thomson Reuters assessed publicly available data of more than 5,000 publicly traded companies around the world. The companies were measured on 24 separate metrics across four key categories. The Index was then calculated by weighing each metric based on importance in the market and how each company compared with its peers.
Bain & Company
Bain & Company earned the number one spot on Vault.com’s 2017 “Consulting 50” ranking of the best consulting firms in North America. The “Consultant 50” rankings are based on the results of Vault’s annual Management and Strategy Consulting Survey.
Bain’s industry expertise and focus on results are factors driving its business success; its revenue once again grew at double-digit rates in 2015, creating remarkable learning and growth opportunities for employees. Consultants laud the firm as a great place to work and tout the potential for unparalleled career advancement, including gaining extensive international experience through cross-office teaming, overseas transfers and global trainings. More than half of Bain employees worked internationally last year.
Employees noted Bain’s steep learning curve and high bar for success. They also praised the firm for its highly supportive culture and deep investment in training and on-the-job coaching, which ensures that employees have the tools and opportunities to realize their career aspirations.
Cartus Corporation, a provider of global relocation services, has been named Relocation Management Company of the Year in Asia for the fifth consecutive year. In addition, Cartus also received the Best Vendor Partnership award with their client, Statoil, a multinational oil and gas company.
The awards were presented to Cartus executives in September at the Asia Pacific Expatriate Management and Mobility Awards (EMMAs), in Singapore. The award program was organized by the Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM), a leading community for global mobility professionals.
The Relocation Management Company of the Year award recognizes the investment that Cartus has made in their in-house Learning & Development program. The second accolade, the Best Vendor Partnership award, recognizes Cartus’ partnership with Statoil, particularly the successful delivery of group moves in emerging locations.
The EMMAs are independently judged by a panel of some of the most experienced and respected global mobility professionals from various industries and leading companies.
The global labor market is warming up, and active job seeking is on the rise, according to CEB, a technology company specializing best practices and insights. To keep top talent in place, companies will need to better promote internal job opportunities and benefits, rather than letting employees think they must go elsewhere to find the jobs they want.
Employees have long believed that the job opportunities they were seeking did not exist in the labor market. However, as companies increasingly turn to mass media to promote appealing employment brands and job opportunities, they are being convinced otherwise. Data from CEB’s Global Talent Monitor suggests that employees may finally be ready to make a move.
While this is good news for companies looking to attract new talent, employers looking to retain their best people must also take notice. In fact, employees’ intent to stay with their current employers continues to decline globally. Latin America and North America experienced the sharpest declines at 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
In June this year, Compass Offices, a serviced office network specialist, and HKBN Group Limited, a Hong Kong fiber broadband service provider, jointly announced a new strategic partnership which would benefit both of their customer bases in Hong Kong.
The partnership ensures customers in Compass Offices centers in Hong Kong can enjoy world class connectivity through HKBN’s fiber network, and in return, HKBN will receive office space at one of the Compass centers for its Enterprise Solutions business.
Many of Compass’ customers are financial companies and technology companies, for whom good connectivity is crucial. For example, a quick and reliable data connection allows access to real-time data on trading floors, uninterrupted data transmission, and flexibility in various interfaces.
Compass Offices opened its first office in 2009 in Hong Kong and is now the largest serviced office provider in the city with an expanding network reaching the wider APAC region.
Wealth protection company Equiom has announced its acquisition of Links Group – which is a provider of commercial facilitation and advisory services based in United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The partnership will expand the geographic reach of both companies and broaden their respective service offerings. It will also increase the number of staff to more than 420. ‘
LDC, Equiom’s private equity partner, has provided additional funding to support the transaction, which was also supported by Equiom’s committed acquisition finance facility. The deal represents Equiom’s eighth acquisition since LDC invested in the business in 2013 to support its product line and international presence.
Established more than 30 years ago, Equiom has developed a global approach towards the delivery of wealth protection and offers a comprehensive range of high quality services including: family office, corporate management, trusts and foundations, yachting and aviation services, tax solutions, eBusiness services, and property structuring.
Global business advisory firm FTI Consulting announced in September that its Corporate Finance & Restructuring segment received the Turnaround Management Association’s Mega Company Turnaround of the Year award for its role in the reorganization of automotive supplier Chassix Holdings.
FTI Consulting was engaged to lead a team on performance improvements, benchmarking and implementing working capital initiatives for Chassix, and was appointed shortly afterwards to lead the company through its restructuring process.
FTI assisted in the negotiations for the long-term solution with various stakeholders, including the sponsors, customers and lenders and their legal and financial advisors. This resulted in a pre-arranged Plan of Reorganization to secure employment for the vast majority of Chassix’s workforce, and to convert nearly US$550 million of its debt to equity.
With guidance from the FTI team, Chassix filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2015 and emerged at the end of July 2015 with a sustainable business model and brighter future.
Global performance improvement solutions provider GP Strategies Corporation said that it has signed a definitive agreement, subject to closing conditions, to acquire Maverick Solutions, a provider of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) product training services.
This acquisition will extend GP Strategies’ ability to deliver ERP systems training and user adoption services to its healthcare customer base and expand into the higher education sector. The transaction is expected to close on October 3rd. Completion of the acquisition is subject to customary conditions, including obtaining certain consents and agreements.
GP Strategies Corporation is a global performance improvement solutions provider of training, eLearning solutions, management consulting and engineering services. Clients include Fortune 500 companies, manufacturing, process and energy industries, and other commercial and government customers.
GP Strategies’ solutions improve the effectiveness of organizations by delivering innovative and superior training, consulting and business improvement services, customized to meet the specific needs of its clients.
According to an August report by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), Asia is currently witnessing a boom in e-commerce.
Affluent Chinese middle-class consumers in particular are taking advantage of the benefits that online shopping has to offer. This has also led to increased demand for overseas products. Consumer goods, luxury brands and sustainable western products are in high demand among Asian consumers.
German companies were among the first to identify this trend and have seized the sales opportunities from the large and heavily populated region of robust consumer demand.
New and established German companies are cooperating with local service providers in order to facilitate their entry into new markets and to promote sales of their products.
Invest Hong Kong has indicated that the potential for regional expansion is a major consideration for around 79 per cent of companies based in Hong Kong – including a number of German companies and start-ups.
Insigniam, an international management consulting firm which specializes in breakthrough performance, transformation, innovation, and corporate culture, announced in August this year that one of its co-founding partners, Shideh Sedgh Bina, has been named to the PharmaVOICE 100 Most Inspiring People: an annual list of the 100 most innovative, influential, and inspirational people in the life-sciences industry.
Dissatisfied with the status quo of the consulting industry, Shideh co-founded Insigniam from the ground up in 1990, dedicated to developing an entirely new model for management consulting. She moved away from traditional advisory consulting model whereby work is done on behalf of clients, and instead developed a unique and proprietary method that provokes the client to think newly about their business and their work, thereby producing new and unprecedented results.
To date, Insigniam clients include one-third of the Fortune 50, more than 80 of the FT Global 500, and over 110 companies of the Forbes Global 1000, as well as all 15 of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
Ipsos Business Consulting
Market research Agency Ipsos won Gold at this year’s Agency of the Year Awards, in the Market research category. Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets, and is ranked third in the global research industry.
Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends to develop and build brands, helping clients build long-term relationships with their customers. In addition, the company tests advertising and studies audience responses to various media in order to measure public opinion around the globe.
Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,785.3 million (UD$1,981 million) in 2015. With offices in 87 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media, customer loyalty, marketing, public affairs research, and survey management.
Kenneth Chau & Co (a MGI member firm)
MGI Worldwide, an independent global accountancy and consultancy association, retains its position in the Top 20 global accounting networks, securing 16th place in the world according to Accountancy Age’s latest annual rankings. Overall, Accountancy Age reported that the top 20 networks, which include the big four firms, aggregated US$160.3 billion in fees, up 1.6 per cent from the previous year.
With some 5,000 professionals and representation across 76 countries around the world, including accountancy firm Kenneth Chau & Co, MGI Worldwide maintained a healthy position among the top 20 international accounting networks with a combined annual total income of US$489 million.
Delighted to have retained a position among the top 20 accountancy networks, MGI Worldwide’s CEO, Clive Bennett, comments, “With a history spanning nearly 70 years, we are very proud to be one of the longest standing networks of our kind. We are continually committed to strengthening connections among member firms and improving quality.”
With Hong Kong’s banking sector feeling the pressure on revenue growth as a result of global economic uncertainty, innovation and effective cost management are key priorities, KPMG’s latest annual survey finds.
KPMG’s 28th annual Hong Kong Banking Survey reveals that the surveyed banks’ total assets overall grew by only 2 percent in 2015, down from 8 percent in the last two years. Continual investment in more regulatory and compliance initiatives, rising wage and infrastructure costs have pushed up the average cost-to-income ratio by 1.6 percentage points to 48.7 percent.
The survey also notes that some banks are focusing on enhancing their customer experience offering, as well as their mobile and other payment service channels to improve top-line growth.
Meanwhile, as financial institutions are increasingly viewing FinTech as complementary rather than direct competition to their business, and with the Hong Kong government actively promoting and encouraging entrepreneurship in the industry, banks are looking at FinTech solutions to improve their profitability, the survey says.
An increasing number of organizations in Asia are getting their C-level executives certified as talent coaches, according to a report published by Progress U, an executive coaching company. This is because a growing number of C-suite executives consider developing top talent in their organizations as an important part of their role, according to the report.
Over the past four to five years in Asia, many executives have begun seeking talent coaching certifications to improve their training skills. Talent coaching can be defined as focused professional training that leads and supports key talent in their career development. Evidence for this recent trend in Asia is available in Progress-U’s latest report entitled The State of Corporate Coaching Culture in Asia, which was based on answers from 236 companies.
The report shows that companies, particularly larger organizations with over US$1 billion annual sales, are increasingly investing in getting their senior executives trained and certified to become talent coaches, with 60 percent of senior executives receiving coach training and certification.
RealFoundations Asia Limited
Managing Director of real estate professional services firm RealFoundations Andrew Carey has been appointed to the board of directors of the United Kingdom Apartment Association (UKAA), which was founded earlier this year to focus on the “build to rent” sector in the UK.
UKAA is the first membership organization that brings together all stakeholders of the professional rental market and helps share best practices for this fast evolving sector. It will lead educational training, customer service delivery, study tours and provide a suppliers’ forum, market data and a range of resources to help deliver better services for residents. It will also share qualitative research and represent the sector’s voice in Westminster.
With offices on four continents, 350+ client-serving professionals and off-shore delivery capabilities in China and India, RealFoundations provides management consulting, managed services and energy solutions to business partners within the real estate industry.
Resources Global Professionals
Resources Global Professionals (RGP), a multinational provider of professional services announced Herb Mueller, Managing Director of RGP’s Atlanta practice, as its new Chief Financial Officer in August this year.
Prior to joining RGP, Mueller was Chief Financial Officer, Vice President, Accounting & Administration, and Treasurer of Delta Apparel, Inc, a publicly-traded apparel manufacturer and distributor. He has also served as Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer of TTA Partners, Inc, a holding company focused on investments in the advertising industry.
Mueller has served in a leadership position with RGP over the past four years in the company’s Atlanta, Georgia practice. He has led significant growth in the region, focusing on consulting opportunities in finance and accounting, information management and internal audit. He holds a BA degree in Accounting from Columbus State University. He is a certified public accountant (inactive).
Strategic Decisions Group (SDG)
Strategic Decisions Group has been named one of America’s Best Management Consulting Firms, according to Forbes. The list is based on ratings of more than 250 firms in 15 industries and 16 functional areas, such as strategy, HR consulting, and supply chain management.
SDG was recognized in eight industry categories and three functional areas. Industry categories were: chemicals & pharmaceuticals, oil & gas, financial institutions, insurance, energy & environment, consumer goods & retail, travel transport & logistics, and other industrial goods. Functional areas were strategy, organization, and finance & risk management. In each category where it was included, SDG was mentioned in a “disproportionately high number of client recommendations.”
For the list of accolades, Forbes collaborated with the research team Statista. Firms considered included not only “classic” management consultancies but also IT consultancies, advisory branches of auditing firms, and consulting branches of agencies.
The Executive Center
The Executive Centre, Asia Pacific’s leading premium serviced office provider, was once again a sponsor for The British Chamber of Commerce Annual Charity Ball held on 2nd September 2016 at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong.
The event was attended by hundreds of high profile individuals and representatives from the international business community in Hong Kong. With the theme of “Swinging 60s London,” the charity ball transported all guests to 1960s London, and was filled with fabulous food, flamboyant fancy dress, unforgivable dance moves and amazing performance by The Beijing Beatles.
Over HK$360,000 (US$46,000) was raised on the night through the live auction, cash donations and charity pledge forms. All proceeds went to Feeding Hong Kong, a local food bank which aims to fight hunger and to reduce food wastage, and MINSET, a charity which aims to change attitudes concerning mental health issues and offers help to individuals, families and organizations in need.
The MIGroup has opened its new business earlier this year in China, which will operate as a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE), in the heart of downtown Shanghai. The Group’s Shanghai office, which opened on June 1st, will support, advise, and consult with TheMIGroup’s existing and future clients who have activity in any part of China.
Founded in 1978, The MIGroup is a provider of global relocation management solutions, offering a full range of relocation solutions including domestic and international services, compensation and consulting services – from total assignment management to individual services for transferees, expatriates or individuals on the move.
With full service business units strategically located throughout The Americas, Europe and Asia, and with TheMIGroup Worldwide Partner Network located in over 175 countries, the Group has the capacity and capability to provide professional services across all time zones.
TMF Hong Kong Limited
In the rapidly growing, competitive multi-country payroll market, TMF Group – a provider of global business services – has been recognized for its quickly expanding global technology by Everest Group’s Multi-Country Payroll Platform (MCPP) Assessment.
The report finds that TMF Group is one of the largest multi-country payroll providers with the widest geographic coverage. TMF Group is also acknowledged for its distinguishing factor of global self-execution of payroll through end-to-end processing, in-country local expert knowledge and strong language proficiencies.
The research report includes analysis of 11 global payroll service providers that are “increasingly investing in MCPP platforms” and expanding their reporting and analytical capabilities, interactive mobile support and other advanced employee support features.
This is the second year TMF Group participated in an Everest survey. Last year, TMF Group was named a “Major Contender” in the annual Multi-Country Payroll Outsourcing (MCPO) Service Provider Landscape with PEAK Matrix Assessment (2015).
Tricor Group, a member of The Bank of East Asia Group and a global provider of integrated outsourced business, corporate and investor services, is expanding into Australia, with the setting up of Tricor Chew Pty Limited, effective from May 2016.
Tricor Chew is a joint venture between Tricor and Chew Investment Partners Pty Limited in Australia, and is positioned to be a professional business advisor which will provide a range of corporate services which include business set-up, accounting, payroll, tax, company secretarial, among others.
Chew Investment Partners Pty Limited, managed and staffed by experienced and well-trained professionals, will focus on providing Australian in-bound and out-bound business advisory, management consulting, transaction and corporate services.
Its partners have all had significant prior experience in large public accounting firms and possess specialist expertise in the accounting, tax and business advisory fields.
Following an acquisition earlier this year by Vistra, IL&FS Trust Company Limited (ITCL), which is the largest independent corporate trust services provider in India, has launched a campaign promoting a new corporate brand identity, as it transitions into a global brand and a Vistra company.
The transition to becoming an internationally recognized entity includes the renaming of IL&FS Trust Company Limited (ITCL) to Vistra ITCL (India) Limited, and the unveiling of a new logo, which will take the shape of Vistra’s arrow symbol, conveying forward momentum and trust.
By becoming part of the Vistra network, Vistra ITCL broadens its reach into an extensive network of 64 offices in 41 jurisdictions around the world, therefore allowing the company and its clients an opportunity to explore and harness international relationships. In the midst of the new branding campaign, it will be business as usual for all of Vistra ITCL’s employees and clients.
Willis Towers Watson
Findings from Willis Towers Watson’s Hong Kong and Macau Severance Practices Survey indicate that the majority of surveyed companies in Hong Kong and Macau remain optimistic about their performance over the next 12-18 months, while few companies have plans for redundancies or headcount reductions.
The new survey shows that 83 percent of Hong Kong businesses expect their performance in 2016 and 2017 to be either in line with or even better than their 2015 results, despite the poor global economic outlook and slowdown in Mainland China. But given the current economic uncertainty, almost a quarter of surveyed Hong Kong companies (23 percent) plan to implement some kind of HR-related cost saving measures other than employee redundancies or layoffs.
The four most common cost saving alternatives revealed in the study are: 1) hiring freeze for some or all positions; 2) a reduction or freeze in bonus or incentive funding; 3) limits on overtime work and travel expenses; and 4) encouraging job-sharing and retraining of existing employees.