Pioneering Tax Strategy: Carnegie Consulting’s First Non-US Tax Hire for a Leading Investment Advisory Firm

Executive Summary: Carnegie Consulting spearheaded the recruitment of the first non-US tax hire for a distinguished investment advisory and private equity firm based in London, with headquarters in the US. This case study delves into the complexities and strategic nuances of integrating an international tax role into a predominantly US-centric framework, illustrating our tailored approach and the successful placement that followed.

Introduction: The client, a prominent investment advisory firm with a robust US presence, sought to expand its tax capabilities internationally by making its first tax hire outside the US. Situated in London, where the firm employs 120 individuals, the role was pivotal for its evolving business needs, requiring not only technical tax expertise but also a personality fit for its dynamic culture.

Challenge: The primary challenge was aligning the client’s expectations with the market realities and ensuring the role was future-proofed. The position demanded a versatile skill set, including tax compliance, international tax law, M&A advisory, alongside a personality that matched the firm’s ambitious growth plans. Furthermore, the client needed guidance on market conditions and appropriate salary benchmarking due to the novelty of the role within their organization.

Solution: Operating on a contingency basis, our approach was defined by robust communication across client divisions in both London and the US. This transparent dialogue was crucial as the client was initially uncertain about the precise experience level required, varying from 4 to over 10 years post-qualification experience (PQE). We provided a comprehensive candidate evaluation that included detailed profiles and CVs, which facilitated a deeper understanding of potential fits beyond mere qualifications.

Execution: Our strategy included widening the search beyond the traditional financial services talent pool to include candidates with significant M&A and advisory expertise, reflecting the dual technical and personality-based needs of the role. This approach ensured a diverse range of candidates that could potentially align with the firm’s culture and technical demands.

Findings and Benefit: The iterative search process, enriched with constant feedback from both candidates and the client, refined the role’s scope and expectations. Initial uncertainties about the level of PQE necessary led to a recalibrated second search phase, which proved more aligned with the firm’s clarified needs. This phase not only focused on technical abilities but also emphasized the importance of personality fit and potential for growth within the company.

Result: The successful candidate is set to begin in the summer of 2024. This placement not only met but exceeded expectations, providing the client with a tax professional who could truly resonate with the organizational culture and contribute to its strategic objectives. The process underscored the importance of looking beyond titles to the substantive nature of the role and the mutual needs of both client and candidate.

Conclusion: This case exemplifies Carnegie Consulting’s dedication to understanding and fulfilling unique client needs in the complex field of international recruitment. By focusing on comprehensive candidate profiles and fostering open communication, we were able to bridge the gap between diverse international tax requirements and the specific goals of an expanding global business.