Moore Stephens Verschelden-Walkiers & Co and Van Havermaet Groenweghe announced they are merging their firms. With over 400 professionals, Moore Stephens Belgium will become the 6th largest group in Belgium, immediately following the Big4 and BDO Belgium.
Moore Stephens Verschelden-Walkiers & Co (230 staff and partners) brings a lot of international experience into the new firm, partifcularly through its affiliate in Shanghai, China. Van Havermaet Groenweghe (170 staff and partners) on the other hand has a very solid local presence in the East of Belgium (Limburg) and brings several specialized services into the new group.
‘Despite the doubling of size we want to keep our client-focused service model as before, providing tailor-made solutions based on the needs of each individual client. A personal relationship based on trust is the strength of our current model. This in combination with ensuring every client meets the highest quality standards in its financial reporting every single day is our mission as audit professionals’, says Frans Verschelden, the new managing partner of the merged firm.
‘It was a once in a lifetime opportunity’, says Jan Maurissen, chairman of the board of the new group. Maurissen and Verschelden will lead the integration of both firms. ‘After our recent buy-out from a Dutch group we were looking for new strategic alliances, allowing us to cover a larger part of Belgium. Thanks to this merger, we will now have key-centers in Antwerp, Hasselt, Brussels, Ghent and Shanghai, in addition to having about 10 small boutique firms spread across Belgium. In a next phase we will also look to expand further in Brussels and Wallonia.’
The new firm is seeking to focus on more specialized services, such as corporate finance and family office. Most growth however, is expected from the HR services group. This group, under the leadership of Geert Motmans, will be newly developed in Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent. ‘Initially it wasn’t a natural choice for us to offer this service as accountants, but today it’s become a requirement from our clients. People management is the number one priority our clients have currently, and we need to help them in this area’, says Maurissen.
The new firm will be the proud Belgian representative of Moore Stephens International Limited , one of the world's major accounting and consulting networks with 301 independent firms and 636 offices in 100 countries. ‘Moore Stephens has found ways to become more prominent in strategic markets over the last few years, and we applaud this very much. We can see the results of this policy in China today, very much to our clients satisfaction. Pioneering and opening new markets for clients has become part of our job as all round service providers, Moore Stephens understands this’, says Verschelden