EY plans to grow its financial services business in EMEIA

08 July 2021 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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EY’s financial services business is expected to add 3,000 roles to its Europe, Middle East, India and Africa headcount. According to comments from the department’s new head, the rapid recruitment boost will occur over the next three years.

At the turn of the year, it was confirmed that Omar Ali would move from his role heading up the UK financial services business of EY, and take up a new intercontinental role. As the Big Four firm’s Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA) Managing Partner for Client Services, he took responsibility for market activity across banking, insurance and wealth and asset management for 18 countries, including the UK. Speaking at the time, Ali took to LinkedIn to publish his own feelings on the move, noting he was excited for the new challenge his next role will bring, “particularly at a critical time for FS firms across Europe.”

Just a few months later, Ali has been asked to step into the role of EY’s EMEIA Managing Partner for the wider financial services division, taking the reins from Marcel Van Loo at the start of July. As EY looks to position itself as an essential partner for financial services clients in the post-pandemic recovery, he has already announced major plans to that end. Ali expects the practice to grow by an additional 3,000 new jobs in just three years.

Omar Ali, EY EMEIA Financial Services Regional Managing Partner

Speaking to Financial News, he explained, “[The new roles] are all in areas where we see a lot of market disruption, a lot of where clients are being asked big questions about their future,” Omar Ali, the new head of the 14,000-strong EMEIA financial services business, told Financial News. Of the 3,000 new jobs, around 150 of them will be partner-level roles.”

The announcement follows the recent promotion of a new financial services consulting head of EY’s UK operations. Speaking on the promotion of Alex Birkin, Ali noted he “brings the ideal combination of leadership ability and sector expertise to help our FS clients transform and grow their businesses in a more complex world.”

EY will be expected to help clients face a host of challenges in the coming years, and having more boots on the ground will be a key factor in meeting that demand. In June, a survey of chief executives in the financial services sector by EY found that cost management was the top priority over the next three years for 52% of those polled, amid the Covid-19 recession.

As well as the pandemic though, a rapidly shifting sustainability agenda in response to the acceleration of climate change presents a major challenge and opportunity for the industry. At the same time, Ali warned Financial News of an increasing risk of fragmentation across Europe’s financial services due to the seismic geo-political changes still impacting the continent. This is something which he warned could increase friction, costs and risk, with financial jobs possibly migrating to the US or Asia as a result.

He added, “Post-Brexit, we have seen large numbers of financial services organisations create EU hubs but there is no one city, one jurisdiction that has one won out above everyone else.”