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Mark Vorsatz: The market is looking for an alternative to the Big Four

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Expansión interview Mark Vorsatz, Chairman of Andersen Global

Values, transparency and independence. These three words resonate in the speech of Mark Vorsatz, Chairman of Andersen Tax & Legal. Since the firm first saw the light of day back in 2014, this lawyer's goal has focused on expanding his staff - in a controlled manner - and expanding the tentacles of the new firm throughout the world. Now, explains the world president, Andersen Tax & Legal has more than 500 partners, 4,000 employees and has offices in about 130 cities spread globally. "To succeed you have to have big dreams; and we have them. After five years as Andersen Tax & Legal, the firm is present in 46 countries and, possibly, this figure will reach 70 countries in the first half of 2019, which would position us in the top 5 worldwide," says Vorsatz. Faced with this frenetic expansion, Vorsatz says that everything is strategically thought out: "We don't want to be the biggest, we want to be the best". As for the doubts generated by the return of a brand directly related to the Enron case, the global president of the firm explains that "many people had reservations about refloating Andersen; however, the market reaction has been incredible, and the companies have been interested in our proposal. I think the market was looking for an alternative to the Big Four and we are filling that gap. The Andersen brand continues to carry weight, resonating. Its reputation has transcended.

Restart

The lawyer also stresses that for him this initiative is not a relaunch of an existing brand, but a restart to return to the origins. "We want to return to the core values of the old company, such as ethics, hard work and transparency. Arthur Andersen ended up focusing too much on making profits and forgot the values that drove him to the top, something that cannot be repeated in the future. Vorsatz also insists on a differentiating aspect of Andersen Tax & Legal: moving away from the world of consulting and auditing. "We have focused on the tax and legal sector and we have avoided the world of consulting for two reasons. On the one hand, because it does not generate synergies with other areas and creates conflicts and lack of independence. On the other hand, for regulatory reasons, since in many countries companies that audit a company's accounts are forbidden from taking care of its legal tasks as well. As for the firm's future, Andersen's global president has ambitious goals. "In the next 10 years we would like to be present in all the countries of the European Union (EU), as well as in the 54 African states. We want to benefit from having a global organisation, but without forgetting the local knowledge and vision of each office".

Geographic Expansion

In this sense, and according to the global president, Andersen intends to expand its number of offices in the EU and move from the current 48 headquarters to 85 within three years. He also wants to gain weight in the Middle East and settle seriously in Africa by 2020. "Many people doubt our interest in the African continent, but I think it's a safe bet. Of the ten countries with the highest growth as a percentage of GDP, six are in Africa. I have no doubt that this will be the continent of the future, it has a lot of potential. For Vorsatz, it's essential with enough scale to compete with the rest of the offices, but that progression must be done head on. "I've noticed that many firms focus exclusively on growth and revenue and not on quality. What we want to bring to the market is intellectual capital. We look in the labour market for the best people to hire, invest in, give the best possible training and allow them to develop as lawyers. After all, the reality is that I would rather have 200 good lawyers than 2,000 mediocre lawyers," concludes the president. The lawyer does not forget the incursion of technology in the law firms - "an unstoppable trend"- but relates it directly to the international presence of the firm. "Technology has an essential role, but it must be accompanied by a global platform, a wide range of offices and good communication between them to serve clients anywhere in the world.

Work and strategic configuration fields

Mark Vorsatz, global president of Andersen Tax & Legal, has his sights set on the future. In fact, the lawyer is looking closely at the horizon in order to find new ways of working. If for the moment the firm focuses its efforts on the legal and tax market, Vorsatz says that in the future it intends to extend the company's work to valuation and transfer pricing - an area of economic importance - as well as corporate advisory services, "a space that will have to be explored when Andersen is more mature". As for possible strategic changes, the world president cites Spain and Portugal, which could soon be integrated into the South American area of the firm due to the strong relationship between these regions and the interest of Latin American countries in possible investments in the Iberian Peninsula, and vice versa.

WIDE EXPERIENCE

Mark Vorsatz's connection with Arthur Andersen comes from afar. The lawyer was a partner in the professional services company between 1987 and 2002. Subsequently, Vorsatz founded Wealth and Tax Advisory Services. The idea to revive Andersen arose in 2006, but the lawyer was not convinced that it was the right time because of the proximity of the 'Enron case'. Eight years later, in September 2014, Andersen Tax & Legal was permanently born.

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