The highly unusual move will come as a blow to E&Y which has sought to rationalise its East Midlands presence following the closure of its Leicester office in February. E&Y is planning a £1m refurbishment of its new Nottingham office and aims to grow staff numbers to around 200 within four years. Headed by Mike Higgins, the Bentley Jennison corporate finance team will be the biggest lead advisory practice in Leicestershire. While admitting the defection of a whole team was 'unusual', Higgins said the team 'brings the ability and experience to create a niche corporate finance practice at Bentley Jennison, bringing a significant development to the corporate finance service'. Joining Higgins will be assistant director Ray Harris and managers Stuart Hands and Roger Wood. The team will work closely with Stoke-on-Trent-based partner John Capper to develop the corporate finance function across the firm's 12-office network. At the time the closure was announced, E&Y consulted staff in an effort to transfer as many as possible to its Nottingham office. An E&Y spokesman said: 'It is a shame that these three did not want to move to Nottingham but we are going on with developing our corporate finance links in the Midlands.' Heading up E&Y's corporate finance team in Nottingham is lead advisory partner Richard Sanders. He moved to Nottingham earlier this year from the firm's Birmingham office. 'The strength in depth and critical mass of our Nottingham office gives us a real opportunity to provide the full range of corporate finance services to the East Midlands market,' Sanders said. 'Our priority is to develop our corporate finance services in the East Midlands. We plan to continue our strong links with the Leicester business and professional community,' he added. E&Y is implementing plans to expand its East Midlands corporate finance practice and the firm has already made four new appointments.
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