EY plans $1bn PE business expansion

The accounting firm also named a new global private equity leader to spearhead the growth.

Accounting firm Ernst & Young plans to spend $1 billion over four years to expand its private equity services, ultimately hoping to double the size of its PE practice in that time.

The firm tapped Bridget Walsh, EY EMEIA managing partner – tax, to lead the global expansion starting July 1. She succeeds previous private equity leader Bill Stoffel, who died in December.

Bridget Walsh

Walsh, who joined EY in 1999, has been in the global PE industry for over 20 years, and has successfully incubated and grown several businesses within EY.

She governs multiple businesses and sits on a number of EY Global boards, including the Global Tax Executive Board and the EY Global Practice Group. Walsh also represents EY on the board of British American Business and is a board member of The Ireland Funds Great Britain.

Private equity services are a key strategic priority for EY, noted Andy Baldwin, EY global managing partner – client service. He said the investment will help to enhance client services through recruitment and training of high-quality talent.

EY plans to hire through recruiting from other professional services firms and through acquisitions. It will focus on building its capabilities within value creation and portfolio transformation, transaction deal leadership and ESG services, through both organic growth and acquisitions.

The firm said new appointments and acquisitions are imminent, but it would not provide any details.

According to EY, PE firms currently manage more than $5 trillion in capital and own more than 20,000 businesses across the globe and those are estimated to employ approximately 25 million people.

Last year, PE deal activity exceeded $1 trillion for the first time ever, and AUMs are expected to rise at a rate of roughly 15 percent over the next several years, as existing investors increase their allocations to PE and as new investors like family offices, high net-worth individuals and others invest in the asset class.