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Big 4 PwC expands regulatory South with Algo partner Archan Chakraborty, PA Vijay Santosh

PwC has been growing its regulatory and advisory practice though the Big Four have generally not been taking on law firms head-on

Chakraborty (left), Santosh join PwC as director, associate director
Chakraborty (left), Santosh join PwC as director, associate director

Former Algo Legal partner Archan Chakraborty and principal associate Vijay Santosh have joined Big Four global consultancy and accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Bangalore as director and associate director respectively.

Chakraborty and Santosh specialise in M&A, private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) work; at PwC they will be joining its regulatory practice, which is understood to include around 10 to 15 members, including economists and business folks.

Chakraborty and Santosh had joined Algo after its founding from Themis Associates, which Algo had absorbed nearly wholesale alongside a raft of other lateral hires, since setting up in August 2019.

Chakraborty had been with Themis for nearly four years as a partner, after having joined from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas in Mumbai in 2016.

Santosh had joined Themis in in 2017 from Trilegal Bangalore, where he had worked for two years after stints in Mumbai at Desai & Diwanji, Rajani Associates and UniversalLegal since 2009.

Both joined PwC around February of this year, having left Algo around December 2019, and we have reached out to them for comment.

We have also reached out to PwC for comment.

Algo managing partner Sandeep Kapoor commented: “All the best to both. Great lawyers and colleagues.

“Wish them very best for future.”

Big Four India ambitions?

PwC Delhi-based partner Anshul Jain had joined the Big Four in Delhi in late 2018 from L&L Partners, where he was a corporate and M&A partner.

Jain had joined PwC’s regulatory and M&A vertical but is understood and is now part of the deals and tax team, where he is involved in deal making, structuring and consultancy work. Jain is a dual-qualified lawyer and company secretary, though we understand that he has surrendered his Bar Council of Delhi registration.

Globally and in Asia most Big Four consultancies have heavily entered the legal market and poached numerous partners and lawyers from law firms.

In India, most of the Big Four have been much more cautious and conservative, which includes staying away from litigation beyond fora where accountants or company secretaries are permitted to appear.

However, as tax advisers, the Big Four are all already knee-deep in transactional advisory services, so adding qualified lawyers to advise on regulation and the lay of the laws of the land (presumably without signing legal opinions), is a bit of a business and client service no-brainer for them.

And in any case, the Big Four work closely with transactional law firms, including referring work to them so in India, at least, they are not looking to compete head-on with law firms yet.

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