Daily Management Review

Duff & Phelps: Yann Magnan appointed as Europe Leader, the company sets his ambitions high


Approaching a century of existence, the New York based advisory firm maintains its expansion in Europe and its sights on conquering each country within, one at a time. In order to steer the European ship into higher seas, Duff & Phelps’ HQ have nominated Yann Magnan, who has an MS in Engineering and turned to finance.

Nearly a century of history

Duff & Phelps was created in 1932 and initially specialized in investment research and management. Strategic decisions shaped its course over the decades and, in the 1990s, the firm focused on financial advisory and corporate finance operations. This led the management team to cut off its other departments, such as its rating services or investment management, which have since been incorporated into Fitch.
But even today, its ownership history is characterized by stability. The company was acquired in 1989 in a management buyout, management and employees owning one third of the company’s equity at that time. Now to be acquired by Permira, a global private equity firm, Duff & Phelps will preserve its management continuity. “As part of the transaction, the Duff & Phelps management team will maintain a significant equity stake in the firm and will continue to lead the company in their current roles”, the company stated.
Since the mid-2000s, Duff & Phelps itself has entered a very active external growth phase, with several acquisitions. This phase is the strategic response to the public offering of 2007, which has fueled Duff & Phelps growth since. The intended expansion did indeed take place, but the financial crisis disrupted the initial plans, which had to be re-designed. Over the years, Duff & Phelps has become especially renowned for its valuation services, around which it has articulated an array of other services. As Henk Oosterhout, Managing Director, Amsterdam Office, explains : “We serve our clients in a continuum, however our focus is very strongly linked to valuation and finance matters. Because we are so specialized, we are able to dig deep and offer the skill set to tackle any complex issue our client might encounter.

Duff & Phelps: Yann Magnan appointed as Europe Leader, the company sets his ambitions high

​A key part to play in Europe

As founder of the company’s Paris office, Yann Magnan had been the leader of the operating branch in Paris since 2007. Through his recent appointment, he maintains his position in Paris but now heads market development for the continent. Yann Magnan graduated from the Ecole Centrale Paris, one of the highest-ranking engineering universities in France, but turned to consulting immediately upon graduating with a Masters degree, starting at Ernst & Young in 1996. He quickly understood that the new post-Enron regulations, which forbid auditing firms to advise their own clients, is not just a new regulation problem: it’s an opportunity for new business. Then he decided to build his expertise in valuation and consulting services. His quick promotion to partner set him at the crossroads: settle for the quiet life and reap the benefits of his past work, or spin the wheel once more. He chose the latter. 
Hired by Duff & Phelps, which had no longstanding presence in Europe, he was in charge of setting up the Paris office. Within just 9 years, the employee headcount under his responsibility had evolved from 12 to 350, since he had been in charge  of Valuation Advisory Services for Europe. His success hence caught the eye of the advisory board, since Yann Magnan joined Duff & Phelps’ operating committee.
Yet appointed EMEA Leader, Magnan’s intention is clear: achieving the challenge of enshrining the DNA of the company, while furthering the spread of the firm’s operations over Europe and outlying markets. “The US is still a fairly large share of our business – about 75% of it. But we still have a lot of room to grow in Europe, by leveling European services with American ones, he told  Ideals News. We will do this in a very coordinated way, with our colleagues in the US and Asia. That's the roadmap: opening new markets, developing new services which are synergistic with our existing servicesleveraging our culture which is about independence, togetherness, collaboration and highest quality standards.”
In this regard, Yann Magnan can count on the full backing of the President of Duff & Phelps, Jacob Silverman, who stressed: “an integrated management of our services and geographies in Europe is a major asset for our development and will help us accelerate our growth.” The company as well, in a recent statement, emphasizes the challenge Magnan was appointed to take up: “Today strong of 26 offices in Europe and the Middle East, Duff & Phelps was heavily deployed in the area in recent years (...) Duff & Phelps knows a strong expansion in its offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. (The company) currently encompasses more than 600 professionals across the EMEA zone, of which more than 75 managing directors. Duff & Phelps displays the goal of balancing its business between North America and the rest of the world in the medium term.

​The road to excellence

Flexibility and tailored methods, combined to hybrid teams made up of industrial and geographical expertise, are at the core of Duff & Phelps means to address complex issues. Complexity is inherent in corporate finance jobs, in which “there are lots of variables, depending on the purpose of the valuation analysis or the jurisdiction you have to conduct it in, Magnan explains. Duff & Phelps precisely excels in managing this complexity. We are able to provide the client with an answer which is really tailored to his needs, and that’s largely achieved thanks to the great culture that our employees embrace.”
Yann Magnan’s recent nomination as EMEA leader demonstrates Duff & Phelps’ commitment to unleash the full expansion potential and establish the firm as a major player in the European market, as similarly achieved in America.  

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