Public sector consultancy Scyne Advisory opens for business

12 November 2023 3 min. read
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After four months in the making, Allegro-backed public sector consultancy Scyne Advisory has formally opened its door today, but faces tough market conditions and a watchful government as the firm gets off the ground.

Having recently cleared its final regulatory hurdle, PwC’s public sector breakaway Scyne Advisory is open for business.

Yet confronted by a deteriorating consulting landscape, Scyne Advisory has already been forced to axed dozens of prospective employees from its intended roster, with the majority of those passed back to PwC now out of the job after the Big Four firm made dramatic cuts of its own.

Public sector consultancy Scyne Advisory opens for business

Altogether, 338 jobs have been slashed across PwC’s Australian workforce, with more than half of those surprisingly lost from the skilled services hub which the firm had frequently heralded since its launch in Adelaide just two years ago. Only three of the 78 individuals who had accepted offers from Scyne Advisory only to be later rejected have been retained by PwC, with those let go facing dimmed prospects of finding alternative employment amid industry-wide cut-backs.

“These are extremely difficult decisions and my thoughts are with all of those people and their families impacted by the changes we have been forced to make,” stated PwC CEO Kevin Burrowes, who was flown in to take over in July. “While we are optimistic about the future, PwC must take pragmatic action to manage these challenges and make difficult decisions to meet the needs of its clients and to ensure the long-term success of the firm.”

Pressure on the local consulting sector has been building through a convergence of factors, including tightened client spending due to the ongoing inflationary crunch and an uncertain business environment. Closer to home for Scyne Advisory, the current federal government had promised to curtail its consulting and contractor outlay by some $3 billion prior to gaining office, with the public spotlight brought by PwC’s tax breach affair providing plenty of extra ammunition.

That scandal, of course, led to the creation of Scyne Advisory, with PwC jettisoning its $650 million public sector consulting business to Allegro Funds in a $1 fire-sale – albeit with the private investment firm committing $100 million-plus to secure over 1,500 former PwC partners and staff and get the new advisory up and running and ready for launch.

That day has now finally arrived, but those employee figures have already shrunk and the market is looking rather grim.

Scyne Advisory’s new owners however remain publicly optimistic following last week’s approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board and the ink drying on its deal with PwC. “Allegro is proud to support Scyne Advisory in becoming an independent public sector-specialist advisory business. Scyne Advisory aims to provide the same level of expertise and national reach as the traditional ‘Big Four’ advisors to governments, but without any conflicts from the private sector.”

Senior leaders at the firm – including still interim leader managing partner Richard Gwilym – have also been updating their profiles on LinkedIn, although the government has naturally been a little more cautious in its response.

During a recent Senate hearing, Finance officials revealed that the department would be keeping a close check on the newly approved advisory for at least the next twelve months, including via a requested monthly meeting “to monitor a range of issues.”