Peter Coulthard

Transactions Tax film screengrab

I left EY in 2012 to join a family office belonging to a high net-worth individual, before returning to EY in June 2014 to build out the firm's family office business.

What initially attracted me as a graduate was a number of things: the opportunity to work for an organisation with a massive global footprint, a wide variety of services and major clients, along with the opportunity to get a very sound professional qualification under my belt. I knew I could really get to know what I found intellectually stimulating from a professional and personal perspective.

There is a strong people focus at EY that stays with you even after you leave. Grade and seniority exists but isn’t a barrier, so when I left I was able to maintain contact with both my peer group and senior levels. When I was ready to leave the family office, I had three firm offers on the table. The people side had kept with me and was a big influencing decision in wanting to re-join EY, coupled with the vision and direction of the firm and our leaders’ commitment to it – and to me, personally.

I came back to EY with a clear focus of doing corporate M&A deals and family office work. Transaction Tax has a reputation for working on some of the biggest deals in the market with a strong private equity offering and some great credentials in the corporate space. I had a lot of involvement on deals during my time in the family office, so the chance to come back and do the sort of deals you read about in national press was very appealing.

Those who have the entrepreneurial streak in them that can identify an opportunity to grow are giving all the support they need to make it work. That’s the key difference between EY and other professional services firms.  I wanted to challenge and carve out a niche for myself; Transaction Tax recognised the potential of family offices and the fact I wanted to build this out resonated well with them.

Transaction Tax is a growing, dynamic and above all friendly team, with a strong flexible working culture. I really enjoy working here, it’s a really good group of people you want to spend time with. You can end up working late in the office a number of times but that builds that camaraderie – some people who don’t work in the team might find us a slightly odd bunch! You’ll quickly find out if it’s right for you; if you know what it is you want to achieve and how it can benefit EY, then there are plenty of opportunities for you to develop and progress.

Being given the chance to lead and develop our family office offering, while working closely with an extremely experienced Partner to build it out from a very early stage, is an invaluable learning experience for me. I’ve also been on the firm’s formal BME Leadership development programme, and currently participating in our Future Partner Development Programme – it’s an absolutely amazing opportunity for me which will hopefully culminate in me becoming a Partner in a couple of years’ time.