Grant Thornton UK to vote on landmark India investment

22 March 2023 3 min. read
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The UK arm of Grant Thornton is drawing up plans to invest millions of pounds in its Indian sister firm. The plans come as talks continue for a bilateral free trade deal between the UK and India, which government sources have recently suggested could conclude ahead of schedule.

Since the advent of Brexit, the UK government has been working to strike new trade deals with growing international markets – in the hope of replacing the market share it has lost by exiting the European Union. In particular, India is seen as a crucial target for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Trade between the UK and India already accounted for $31.3 billion in goods and services in 2022, and that could more-than double by 2030.

As a result, multiple trade expeditions have made noises about the importance of securing a trade deal between the two nations – and finally, progress seems to have been made. Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch visited India in December, in an effort to move forward with a bilateral deal, which could cut tariffs and open opportunities for UK services to operate in India. According to Badenoch, India will likely enter into Britain’s Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in 2023 – sooner than previously thought.

Grant Thornton UK to vote on landmark India investment

With Britain and India’s economic ties seemingly set to strengthen sooner, rather than later, Sky News has reported that Grant Thornton’s UK wing is looking to seize opportunities arising from the prospective alliance. According to the news provider, the audit and advisory firm has asked its UK partners to vote on a proposal later this month, which will see it invest a substantial sum of money into its Indian equivalent, Grant Thornton Bharat. In return, it is understood that the UK business would receive greater access to one of the fastest-growing parts of Grant Thornton's international network.

Like many other professional services firms, Grant Thornton's national businesses are structured as a partner-owned network overseen by Grant Thornton International. Grant Thornton is the UK’s sixth-largest professional services firm, providing audit and advisory services to some of the UK’s largest companies. In the UK, the firm has more than 200 partners, who will now vote on the proposal to invest in the Indian business.

Speaking to Sky News, one source described the proposal as "unusual". This does not seem to mean that the proposal is viewed poorly by Grant Thornton's UK partners, however, as the source added they are expected to vote in favour of the transaction.

A spokesperson was also approached for comment. While the representative did confirm that Grant Thornton UK “is regularly in discussion with other member firms in order to strengthen collaboration throughout the network in support of our clients”, they added they would “not be commenting on any such discussions."

It is not the only example of Grant Thornton’s UK wing looking to forge new ties with its Bharat sister firm. Earlier in 2023, Grant Thornton also named Akshay Bhalla as a new Partner to its London office – with a view to growing the firm’s offering to businesses trading between Britain and India.