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Deloitte AG

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Jackie Hess, Head of Tax & Legal

Jackie Hess, Head of Tax & Legalof Deloitte AG discusses how the firm is adapting to clients' changing needs.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Deloitte Legal from your competitors?

Deloitte Legal in Switzerland offers a wide scope of legal services to its clients. Through strong collaboration with the tax, consulting and financial advisory teams of Deloitte Switzerland, we take an integrated and holistic approach to client service, providing some of the best solutions possible.

Deloitte Legal in Switzerland is part of a global network that includes over 1,750 legal professionals in over 75 countries. The flexible service delivery model of Deloitte Legal Switzerland and its network of member firms gives our clients the option to choose the level of support that is right for them. Services can be provided using a locally or globally coordinated approach to increase efficiency. Our clients benefit from our global reach as well as retain access to local knowledge, understanding of regulations and business culture when and where they need it.

We care as much about clients’ long term success as we do for the short term outcome of a project. Our service delivery model is designed to adapt and evolve as companies grow and as priorities shift. We help our clients remain agile and respond quickly and efficiently to changes.

In all areas of our work, we pair multidisciplinary, specialized knowledge with industry expertise to facilitate informed client decision making and solution implementation. Our team of experienced professionals add value by viewing legal and business challenges through an industry lens.

We are able to not only offer efficient and tailor-made legal solutions to our clients, but interdisciplinary and practical solutions, covering wider business issues that our clients are facing.

Which practices in your member firm do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

Switzerland remains one of the most attractive locations for European and global headquarters as well as principal companies for many reasons. As a result, a large number of multinational companies relocate their business or parts thereof to Switzerland, a trend we expect to continue into the next year. As a result, we expect to see growing demand for corporate and commercial services, banking solutions, insurance and capital market and labour law expertise, as well as legal services related to business modelling operations.

Cost pressure and achieving efficiencies will continue to be issues for our clients. We will continue to focus on understanding our clients’ business models and challenges, to assist them from both legal and business perspectives.

The traditional industries of Switzerland will continue to grow, and we will be well-positioned to support them accordingly. Our dedicated team of experienced lawyers with financial services industry focus will continue to serve clients operating in banking, insurance, private equity, fund management and other financial sectors.

What is the main change you have made in your firm that will benefit clients?

Our primary objective remains to understand our clients’ issues and challenges, and to help them develop and implement efficient and practical solutions. Building relationships, getting to know our clients’ businesses and becoming trusted advisors, are central to our client service strategy. Through our close cooperation with our Deloitte audit and advisory teams, we have developed a profound knowledge of the market, the concrete needs of our clients and the expectations of authorities and regulators.

One of our key priorities is talent. We are investing in attracting and nurturing the best talent, including strengthening our Financial Services Regulatory, Compliance & Legal practice, led by Stephan Welti. We are growing our teams to meet the needs of an ever-expanding client base, adding senior leaders such as Urs Wolf, a well-known legal specialist with significant experience in corporate and commercial law with significant experience in large restructuring and integration projects.

How is technology changing the way you interact with your clients and the services you can provide them??

Technology has definitely changed the way we are interacting with clients. Increasingly, clients want to understand and harness the power of document analysis and document automation tools. We feel that significant efficiency can be achieved by carefully matching the strengths and weaknesses of available tools with the needs of the client especially when completing some more routine legal tasks.

We have developed various technology tools to assist with legal and compliance processes and requirements. Our investment in and use of technology and automation enables us to deliver operational efficiencies and add value to our clients’ businesses.

Can you give us a practical example of how you helped a client add value to their business?

After enactment of Swiss legislation requiring Swiss-based asset managers to become licensed, asset managers were facing uncertainty around the process for complying with the new, potentially high-impact licensing requirements. In many cases, asset managers had not planned for this change, were unprepared and uncertain how to respond.

We helped a Swiss-based asset manager, managing a fund with assets under management of several hundred million Swiss francs, successfully navigate the new requirements.

We conducted a workshop with the client to establish a clear strategy for the future of the company. This drove the organizational choices and the selection of modules to be included in the set-up, as did the particular circumstances and characteristics of the client. Our team helped with all aspects of the licensing process, from creation of internal guidelines and policies, through to the application stage. After obtaining the FINMA license, the outsourced functions such as legal and compliance became part of the organization, and continued to support the team who could continue to focus on managing their fund while being fully compliant.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three year's time?

Deloitte is the fastest growing of the Big 4 in Switzerland. We will continue to collaborate with other Deloitte Switzerland teams as well as other Deloitte member firms, to further expand and develop our legal services. By understanding our clients’ businesses and offering integrated services, we can provide the strategic direction our clients require. We will continue to develop and strengthen our relationships with new and existing clients. Within 3 years’ time we aspire to significantly grow our legal team, and invest in our talent and capabilities to provide practical solutions and added value to more clients across Switzerland.

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