THE East and West Midlands corporate finance teams of Grant Thornton are set to be combined as the company combats the downturn in the sector.

The team will be led by Phil Jackson, a partner in Grant Thornton’s London operation, with Andrew Roberts, current leader of the Birmingham team, retiring.

Mr Jackson will lead a team of 17 with three partners while up to 18 members of the transactional advice team in Birmingham are set to lose their jobs.

A spokesman for the firm said: “Following the consolidation process after the merger with Robson Rhodes and in light of the challenging economic conditions which are affecting the whole profession, Grant Thornton is carrying out a review across its business units.

“As there has been a significant downturn in the transaction market, particularly in corporate finance and related advisory services, we have had to reduce the number of employees in the Birmingham office.

“Employee consultations have begun with those affected; we will be retaining as many staff as possible, including redeployment to other business units, and will continue to offer transaction advisory services both now and when market conditions improve. The firm is still available to offer transaction support services from all its locations.”

Mr Roberts added: “Putting our strong East and West Midlands teams together creates a fantastic base to support the continued growth and development of our CF activities, despite the difficult market we face currently. It also signals the time for me to pass over the reins to Phil, for after an enjoyable 34 years with Grant Thornton the time is right for me to retire and concentrate on my personal and other business interests.”