Restructuring veteran Steve Parbery joins Duff & Phelps

19 August 2020 2 min. read
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Restructuring veteran Steve Parbery has joined Duff & Phelps, reuniting him with former PPB Advisory colleagues.

Back in 1983, Steve Parbery teamed up with Max Prentice and Vince Barilla to co-found PPB Advisory. Under their leadership, PPB Advisory grew into one of Australia’s leading independent insolvency boutiques.

Parbery spent thirty-five years at the helm of PPB Advisory, but in 2018, weeks before PPB Advisory was set to complete its acquisition by PwC, he joined Ferrier Hodgson, another premier restructuring, turnaround and insolvency firm. Within a year Parbery became part of KPMG, after the Big Four firm bought Ferrier Hodgson's business located in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. 

Now, the insolvency industry veteran – he has been part of some of the highest profile insolvency cases in the country, including Ansett Airlines and Lehman Brothers, and the collapses of Arrium and Queensland Nickel – has joined the Restructuring arm of Duff & Phelps, which just recently launched its operations in Australia.

Steve Parbery, Senior Advisor, Duff & Phelps

The move sees him join up with former PPB Advisory colleagues Ken Whittingham, David Webb, Marcus Ayres and Brett Lord. All four enjoyed rewarding careers at PPB Advisory, and went different ways during the firm’s sale. The first duo joined PwC as part of the deal, while the latter duo joined EY’s Restructuring practice shortly before the transaction was announced. 

Parbery said his move is based on professional considerations. “I didn’t really have issues there,” he said of his stint at KPMG, but “it’s more about joining a start up with a more strategic role and being involved in driving growth. I could never play any real strategic role in that kind of Big Four organisation and there was also synergy with former colleagues of PPB.” 

Commenting on the appointment, Marcus Ayers, Head of Restructuring Advisory at Duff & Phelps, commented, “We are thrilled to welcome Stephen. His extensive experience as a highly accomplished restructuring specialist will solidify our position and help us meet our customer needs better.”

For Duff & Phelps, the high-profile addition comes at a welcome time for the firm down under. A growing number of distressed businesses amid the Covid-19-induced crisis is causing heightened demand for insolvency work, and the firm is seeking to capitalise on market opportunities. 

Parbery believes the existing team at Duff & Phelps is well positioned to compete. “There’s going to be room in the restructuring area for well-resourced Big Four firms and for well-resourced independent firms,” he said, pointing to Duff & Phelps’ strengths in valuations, forensic accounting and cyber security, areas where “there is a real need for deep expertise provided by independent firms which are free of audit conflicts.”