Deloitte Perth Managing Director Michael McNulty (right) and KD Johns principal, Keith Johns. Picture: Bill Hatto/The West Australian.
Deloitte Perth Managing Director Michael McNulty (right) and KD Johns principal, Keith Johns. Picture: Bill Hatto/The West Australian.

Deloitte has widened its grab for WA's well-heeled by buying accountant to the rich Keith Johns' tax and business advisory firm, KD Johns & Co.

The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, is the latest in a run of consulting and advisory acquisitions by the Big Four accounting firms and comes just two weeks after KPMG beefed up in Perth with management consultancy Momentum Partners.

Mr Johns teamed up with other tax specialists from Andersen - Martina Crowley, Marc Worley and Shane Cassey - to establish KD Johns in 2002 after the global accounting giant imploded in the wake of the Enron scandal.

The firm specialises in tax advice for high net-worth individuals and their families.

Its client list includes some of WA's wealthiest people.

"They're people who have been careful in establishing their own wealth," Mr Johns said. "They've thrived in a very good economy and they continue to do so when times get tough because they are conservatively invested."

The four KD Johns principals will join Deloitte Private as partners - Mr Johns will also head the division's Perth tax practice - along with 15 staff.

Deloitte WA managing partner Michael McNulty, who worked with KD Johns' directors at Andersen, began talking about a tie-up before Deloitte Private set up in Perth a year ago.

"Of the private wealth created in the last decade in Australia, a huge proportion is sitting in WA," Mr McNulty said.

"It's a sector we've always believed was under-serviced."

Mr Johns said the tie-up with a big firm offered the opportunity to broaden services to clients.

Specifically, however, he was attracted to Deloitte by a similar culture, a complementary strategy and Deloitte's technology offering, particularly in cloud-based accounting.

Mr McNulty said Deloitte was always looking at other deals.

"It's widely recognised that there are these incredibly well-connected and talented teams of people out there in the private space," he said. But he added: "Ours has been a very targeted acquisition strategy . . . it's not growth for growth's sake."

The KD Johns purchase will close on October 1.

The West Australian

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