Bird & Bird enters into ground-breaking co-op agreement with boutique transfer pricing firm Questro International

21 September 2016

International law firm Bird & Bird is entering into a ground-breaking new cooperation agreement with Questro International, a boutique Transfer Pricing (TP) firm.

Bird & Bird's TP offering, so far managed by dedicated TP teams within the Tax department, has grown continuously and significantly over the last few years.

The co-op agreement - which is the first to be made by Bird & Bird with a firm on a practice area basis - allows the two firms to collaborate in serving multinational clients and to offer strong and coordinated pan-European transfer pricing services. The agreement is non-exclusive.

Questro International is a specialist firm which provides a full range of TP solutions across the entire TP lifecycle. The firm works with independent law and accountancy firms to handle the tax, legal, valuation and accounting implications of multi-jurisdiction projects and has TP network coverage in 40+ countries globally.

Founded in 2013, the firm is led by three experienced partners with Big Four backgrounds, and has grown from one office in Zurich in 2013 to three offices across Europe in the past three years (Zurich, Amsterdam, and Mannheim).

The move comes against a backdrop of increased scrutiny from tax authorities, investors, customers, and the public at large that has brought unprecedented attention to the TP structures of multinationals. A multitude of new regulations and transparency initiatives in this field, coupled with the OECD BEPS work, puts multinationals under increasing pressure to establish transparent and tax compliant structures and puts the spotlight on tax avoidance measures within some corporations.

Such issues aren’t only the preserve of the world’s largest corporations any more. Today’s digital economy now means that mid-sized and smaller businesses can easily find themselves operating across multiple geographical boundaries by virtue of the internet.  Purely domestic transfer pricing is also becoming increasingly common as more countries look to adopt patent box incentives.

In addition to liaising closely with the Tax team, Questro International will add a new dimension to the firm’s world-class IP advisory capabilities by offering bespoke TP solutions to help businesses protect, manage, and exploit the value of their intangible assets.

The firms will also explore further synergies across Bird & Bird’s Corporate, Commercial, Real Estate, Litigation, Financial Services, Competition and Employment practice areas.

Sabine Sardou, Transfer Pricing partner at international law firm Bird & Bird says:

“The association with Questro is a clear opportunity for Bird & Bird to accelerate its Transfer Pricing offering across Europe and beyond.

"Our many years' experience working with Questro's knowledgeable and respected partners makes us confident that this cooperation should be the first step to an increasing success for Bird & Bird's Transfer Pricing offering.”

Mat Oliver, co-head of International Tax at international law firm Bird & Bird says:

“Questro is the perfect fit for Bird & Bird because it combines classical transfer pricing advisory work with innovative technology based solutions to create efficiencies for clients - an approach mirroring our own focus on technology.

“Our clients know that with the arrival of BEPS they need to put serious effort and resource into their global tax strategies but the solutions needed cut across legal, tax, valuation, economic and practical considerations. Our collaboration with Questro will allow us to provide all of this in a one-stop shop - giving clients a holistic and cost-effective service."

Morag Macdonald, co-head of International IP at Bird & Bird added:

"Some of the world’s biggest companies today have intangibles as their most valuable assets whether in the digital space or life sciences or elsewhere – their brands, designs, patents, copyright, know how etc.  How they handle their business, based on these assets, for tax purposes and how they value them has become critical for the financial well being and profitability of these companies - so we are very excited to be working with Questro to aid our clients with these issues."

Stephen Alleway, co-founder of Questro International says:

We are very pleased to be working with Bird & Bird which has a preeminent reputation in the IP space. Over the course of my career, transfer pricing has shot up the corporate agenda and now consistently ranks as the number one issue in international tax and is an increasing area of boardroom concern. New compliance requirements and increased transparency and scrutiny makes the operation of a sustainable TP model more complex and increasingly cross functional within a corporation involving tax, finance, and legal functions. I am excited that our two firms can collaborate in such a way as to provide the ground-breaking end-to-end services that companies grappling with these issues now require.”