Our success is driven by helping our clients succeed. Our clients have told us that when KPMG operates at its best, our teams demonstrate considerable expertise, have a global mindset, are forward thinking, have the ability to add value and are passionate. In 2012, we have relentlessly challenged ourselves to live up to these high standards on every engagement.
There are three things in particular that make a real difference to our success with our clients and in the marketplace:
- Content - insights into the challenges our clients face and ideas to help them to address them;
- Coverage - strong relationships wherever our clients need our help;
- Capabilities - getting the right skills and the people with the right experience to help our clients, regardless of geography or functional boundaries.
This is all about relevance and engagement. Where our people deliver this, along with real passion for clients and their industries, we are beginning to see the sort of excellent results we all aspire to as an organisation. And when we deliver such a client experience across borders, the outcome is even more impressive.
These are very uncertain times for our clients. With markets so unstable and with operational challenges being faced by most sectors; clients continue to look to us for expert insight and trusted advice. We are building strong relationships and drawing on our full multi-disciplinary capabilities to help boardrooms navigate the complex issues their businesses face.
“Our gross sales for the year show a growth of 9%, reaching €132 million. This can be attributed to a consistent focus on clients’ needs, flexibility to deliver quality service by our 1150 staff, strong local roots and support from our international network present in 153 countries.”, explains Georges Bock, Managing Partner.
Our revenue in Audit grew by 5% this year. “We have a strong focus on client centricity and quality, and we continue to strengthen our existing relationships and grow our client base. We have continued to reinforce our leading positions for audit in the banking and asset management sectors, as we have increased the number of audit engagements in both sectors in 2012. This explains the growth we are seeing in audit.” explains Emmanuel Dollé, Head of Audit.
In recognition of our strong asset management practice in Luxembourg, KPMG’s Regulatory Centre of Excellence for Investment Funds, which provides regulatory intelligence to KPMG offices within the EMA region, is also based in Luxembourg.
Our revenue in Tax grew by 12.5%. “In a challenging environment whereby governments are trying to reduce deficits and balance budgets, and the morality of tax planning is being increasingly called into question by the media and policy makers, we’ve increased the capabilities of our Transfer Pricing Group and developed new services. For example we offer comprehensive health checks to provide gap analysis and recommendations in relation to a range of tax related topics (including substance which is a key component in international tax planning, relevant for the application of both domestic law and tax treaties)” explains Sebastien Labbé, Head of Tax.
We are very proud to have been honoured with several tax awards during the year, from International Tax Review 2012 (TIER 1 Tax advisory firm in Luxembourg), Corporate INTL (2012 Corporate Tax, Accountancy Firm of the Year in Luxembourg), and Finance Monthly (EU Tax Firm of the Year in Luxembourg). The latter award was in recognition of the outstanding technical expertise we have developed in relation to claim services linked to the ECJ decision on the Aberdeen case, which continues to produce increased revenue for our clients.
Our revenue in Advisory grew by 13.5%. “It is a remarkable growth figure in the current market and economic climate, and is the result of increased partnering with our clients to help them either address the avalanche of regulatory challenges, generate more revenue or reduce costs. Our ‘Value For Funds’ concept, which covers all services provided to fund Management Companies in Luxembourg, is a strong tribute to the success of an innovative and integrated solution which addresses several business challenges simultaneously, whether in operations, tax, risk management or information technology” explains Alain Picquet, Head of Advisory & Markets.
The success of our business strategy depends, above all else, on the skill and talent of KPMG people and our ability to build a workforce that can win in the marketplace. Our focus is on recruiting and developing people who can deliver the very best of KPMG to clients, now and in the future.
In 2012, we have continued to invest in our people. We recruited 420 persons, including 150 university graduates. We provide our staff at all levels with training and development opportunities to help them evolve in their future careers. Our people efforts as a global firm are well recognised: KPMG remains one of the most attractive employers worldwide. We are ranked only second to Google and the best in our industry as an employer of choice for the third time in a row.
In 2012, our promotions list included 10 new directors and 7 new partners, a clear sign of our high performance culture, a recognition of talent within our organisation, and our investment in people who will be our leaders of tomorrow.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is woven deeply into our business strategy. It allows us to lead by example, make a real difference in communities, employ the best people, connect with our clients and cut our costs and environmental impact.
In 2012, the KPMG Luxembourg Foundation donated 160,565 Euros to charities supporting projects in Luxembourg, the Grande Région and internationally. KPMG’s corporate social responsibility programme includes initiatives supporting the development of the Luxembourg marketplace, social initiatives promoting KPMG as an employer of choice for staff members, volunteering programmes, active environmental impact management and the implementation of corporate governance best practices.
In April 2012, the first stone of the new KPMG headquarters was laid in Kirchberg. “This new building, designed by François Valentiny in Luxembourg, will benefit from the latest advances in technological and environmental fields, and will enable our 1150 staff to work in one central location. We believe that it is a strong sign of our commitment and investment in Luxembourg as a financial sector.”, explains Thomas Feld, Chief Operating Officer.
If the Luxembourg success story is to continue, Luxembourg needs to connect to growth markets, address its budget imbalances, and implement certain structural reforms.
Georges Bock explains further: “Luxembourg is indeed at the crossroads in shaping its future, and it is becoming crucial that it hears and we all hear the wake up call. Luxembourg derives its wealth from its international business exposure and an ongoing globalisation. The strength of the country is in its openness to the world and in its ability to adapt itself to changing circumstances. However, it seems from recent observations that it is becoming self-centric.
We seem to conclude that we are at the centre of the world but do not want to embrace and acknowledge the recent developments around us. A number of forecasts state that European economies have and will lose further momentum in favour of other regions around the globe. The OECD predicts that the average growth potential for Luxembourg will be around 1,8% from now till 2030 and 0,6% thereafter. Statec has forecast a growth of 1% for 2013 and the general outlook in the EU is more than mitigated.
In the past, we have seen mainly Unions and other groups declaring the end of the crisis. Yet such a declaration cannot be made upon wishful thinking, it has to crystallise and become an economic reality. In order to continue to keep some freedom of action, the Government needs to restore its balance sheet. A budget can be balanced by working on the income or expense sides. As far as income is concerned, OECD statistics show that we have a pretty high ratio of tax and social contributions relative to GDP (around the level of Germany and above the average).
In Europe, corporate taxes continue to decrease, even at the height of the crisis, which limits the scope for further tax increases in Luxembourg unless we are willing to lose further competitiveness. Growth forecasts also limit the likelihood of major tax revenue increases as a consequence of higher profits by corporations or additional new start ups. And as far as expenses are concerned, these have increased rapidly during the crisis. There seems to be no way around starting to stabilise or even better to reduce the State’s expenses, even though this is a painful exercise. There can be no sustainable growth if it is built heavily on debt, and in the long run, we cannot save the situation by spending more than we earn.
The same applies to our pension system. Even after the recent pension reform, we need an average of 3% annual growth and an annual increase in employment of 1.5%. Needless to say that in light of the OECD outlook and looking beyond the fact that growth rates might not be met, the required increase in employment seems just as difficult to achieve. This means that the sustainable financing of the pension system still remains uncertain.
On the opportunity side, continued growth in the investment fund business and the implementation of AIFMD through competitive legislation will bring a breath of fresh air to the Luxembourg economy. AIFMD could become the next UCITS-like success story for Luxembourg, as high net worth clients in the private banking sector are asking for higher returns but with some degree of investor protection; UCITS 6 is putting pressure on eligible investment strategies; and there seems to be both potential and room for a worldwide AIFMD brand.
Moreover, Luxembourg should continue to strengthen its digital footprint in the modern economy. E-commerce, the gaming industry and the creation of a digital safe - as a secure alternative to the Cloud - for the European Union and beyond should be part of our vision for the future.
We also have to continue to adapt our framework to attract corporate headquarters that use substantial business platforms serving cross-border operations of multinationals, for example in the areas of group treasury and financing. By doing so, the banking sector would be further supported in its efforts to diversify from a private wealth strategy.
As such, Luxembourg needs to continue establishing strong links with regions where markets have a higher potential for growth, such as Asia, the Middle East or Latin America.
KPMG Luxembourg continues to participate actively in a number of economic and financial missions and roadshows organised by the Association of Luxembourg Fund Industry (ALFI) or Luxembourg for Finance (LFF), with a shared goal of promoting Luxembourg as a financial centre. Our clients also benefit from such initiatives, as we are able to connect them with new opportunities in new territories, and we can help them in implementing their strategies by leveraging the expertise of KPMG offices based in these countries.
Being diverse and international as well as strongly anchored in Luxembourg are not contradictory in nature. We want to contribute to the development of the country through constant exchange and expert contributions.”
Participating in social media has become a business imperative and, regardless of industry group or ownership structure, social media is rapidly moving up the boardroom agenda. More than 70 percent of organizations operating around the world are now active on social networks and there seems to be little doubt that social media is widely viewed as a viable and effective business tool.
KPMG Luxembourg has launched KPMG TV, a news-style TV platform designed to provide executives with short, up-to-date and relevant insights into matters which affect their businesses. These can be viewed using smartphones, while waiting at the airport or having a coffee. KPMG TV also gives our views on how to approach some of these upcoming challenges. This is a first step in our engagement in the world of social media. Follow us on KPMG TV (kpmgtv.lu) and on KPMG Luxembourg’s upcoming social media channels.