Mid-tier advisory firms add new partners across Australia

08 February 2023 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read

A handful of senior professionals have joined the Australian partnership of mid-tier advisories BDO, Nexia, HLB, and Pitcher Partners.

A number of mid-tier accounting and consulting networks have made senior leadership appointments in Australia, including the promotion of Darren Chinnappa and Tracey Driver as partners in Nexia’s Sydney office.

Also promoted by HLB Mann Judd in Sydney is Alexander King, while Fiona Narielwalla joins BDO as a partner in the same city. Ben Macpherson meanwhile becomes an executive director in Pitcher Partners' Perth office.

Fiona Narielwalla joins BDO as an audit and assurance partner in Sydney after spending more than two decades at KPMG between New Zealand and New York, originally joining the Big Four firm in the former before crossing to the US as a director twelve years later. While in New York, she served as a senior director in global audit innovation, leveraging the latest technologies in product development and promoting collaboration between KPMG member firms.

“During Covid-19 when I was locked out from my family in New Zealand, it became clear it was time for a change. I was really attracted to the BDO culture and the firm’s values. It’s very much a family culture, people are approachable,” Narielwalla told the Australian Financial Review, adding that she wants to use her technical knowledge in areas such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to help improve how audits are performed at the firm.

Darren Chinnappa is one of two recent partnership promotions made by aspiring top-ten mid-tier network Nexia in its Sydney office (it currently sits $20 million shy of that mark in Australia). Now a financial services and superannuation partner, Chinnappa has been with Nexia for close to a decade and a half, first joining in early 2009 following a summer internship the year prior. He specialises in particular in self-managed super funds.

Tracey Driver has also joined Nexia as a partner in Sydney, like Narielwalla following an extensive finance career at KPMG. She first joined the firm in 1995 upon the conclusion of an arts degree with the University of Birmingham, before becoming a partner in Sydney in 2008. For the past year and a half Driver has been acting as an independent consultant.

HLB Mann Judd, which also sits not far out of the top ten largest entities of its kind in Australia, has likewise added a partner in Sydney: Alexander King, who is a member of the firm’s tax consulting division. An expert in public and privately-owned corporate taxation and compliance, King has been a director with HLB Mann Judd since 2018, and previously undertook a secondment with a fellow HBL International member firm in the US in 2015.

“The past few years have highlighted the importance of client relationships and Alex is highly regarded as a taxation specialist,” said HLB Australasian chair Tony Fittler. “It is evident there remains a degree of uncertainty in the economic outlook, which only reinforces the need for strong and trusted client-adviser relationships. Tax consulting is also a key growth area for HLB Mann Judd, and the appointment of Alex to the partnership reflects the significance of this division.”

Ben Macpherson meanwhile becomes an executive director in the Perth office of Pitcher Partners' tax consulting practice, after spending the first eleven years of his career at the firm. Joining in 2012 on the back of a commerce degree completed at Curtin University (since complemented by a taxation masters at UNSW), Macpherson has gained considerable experience advising large corporate clients on taxation issues, especially those operating in the natural resources sector.