What it’s like to work at Duff and Phelps

Working for a big firm within the corporate finance world can sometimes be intimidating. But at Duff & Phelps, the premier global valuation and corporate finance advisor, the culture, ambiance and results they offer can be truly enjoyable for all levels of employees and their clients as well. At Duff and Phelps, meeting your financial goals in a stress free environment is feasible.

Duff & Phelps corporate finance

The culture of a global company is increasingly essential to employees, regardless of the name of the company, the level, or its location. Combining stronger exigencies with a pleasant work environment isn’t an easy task, but Duff & Phelps (Duff and Phelps), having ranked number 1 as Fairness Opinion Provider in the U.S., seems to have found the perfect strategy for achieving it. From its human resources strategy to its compensatory system, Duff and Phelps is creating a professional and family-oriented relationship with both its employees and clients.

In 2015, Duff and Phelps acquired two firms that are now new divisions within Duff and Phelps; American Appraisal and Kinetic Partners. The goal behind the acquisitions was for Duff and Phelps to broaden its expertise to reach more specialized focuses within corporate finance and valuation services. This has led Duff and Phelps to search for the best of the best qualified and experienced talent with expertise in each field the company’s clients have interests in.

“We are highly proactive, we are looking for new opportunities and we are also trying to develop our practice faster,” said Henk Oosterhout, Managing Director at Duff & Phelps, based in Amsterdam, (1) “We have an entrepreneurial and consulting culture. Because we are still growing, we need to constantly evolve and develop ourselves, for instance through recent acquisitions that have made us more global.”

Duff & Phelps’ recent acquisitions also prove that entrepreneurial culture and the will to go forward and it’s also the firm’s philosophy when looking for a new candidate to join one of Duff & Phelps’ teams. “Ideally we are looking for someone with a consulting profile, someone thoughtful and an excellent communicator. However, it must be someone who has the tendency to go beyond simply ‘scratching the surface’ and get to the core of an issue,” says Oosterhout.

For Yann Magnan, Managing Director for Europe Valuation Services, that quest for excellence when recruiting new teammates is crucial as well. “We’re looking for individuals who have the technical skills and ability to deal with complexity. Yet Duff & Phelps employees shall not just be the best technical experts. They shall also be excellent consultants and hence know how to deal with highly demanding clients,” said Magnan (2).

And as Duff & Phelps keeps growing, the firm is not only planning on hiring more talented individuals who have these skills and expertise, but also those who can be great teammates.

For its valuation services, Duff and Phelps hired experts in all fields of financial reporting, tax services, alternative asset advisory, real estate services, fixed asset management and insurance solutions. Each employee at Duff and Phelps brings different expertise that might be the key to success for a precise request from a current or prospective client.

For instance, if you are a French client of Duff and Phelps’s who wants to make an acquisition in the U.S., you may be transferred to the one qualified expert in one of Duff and Phelps’s offices in the U.S, explains Yann Magnan.

Magnan adds: “If I am asked by a client in France, to perform a valuation and I don’t have the specific transaction or opinion expertise, then I’ll ask my colleague from the American office if he has someone in his group to work with me to make sure that we will bring the best expertise and experience to the client. That’s the way we operate at Duff & Phelps on a day-to-day basis. So truly it is a lot about the respect that we have for each other and each other’s expertise”. (2)

The consideration for each employee’s expertise is one of the keys to success for Duff and Phelps, which keeps succeeding when it comes to “powering sound decisions,” (3) as the largest independent valuation advisory firm. One of the things that differentiates Duff & Phelps from the rest, is the caliber and the experience of our managing directors. Our integrity is more important to us than profits. Doing the right thing, telling the truth and providing advice independent of our potential fee outcome is real integrity. People that have worked with Duff & Phelps, some of the largest clients in the firm, have been our clients for 30+ years. They trust us because they know we’re a long-term partner,” said Robert A. Bartell, Managing Director in charge of the Investment Banking Group. (3)

At Duff and Phelps, the philosophy is the same for the workers who are chosen due to their expertise. Duff and Phelps’s human resources division is always on the lookout for talent that will be able to serve the clients’ needs best. “It’s more than just people wanting to be good teammates and collaborate with each other. Our compensation system applauds and encourages this working relationship,” says Bartell. “We recognize that the managing directors and partners of the firm are incentivized by being part of one global firm and will get paid regardless of the service line, and that’s important. Our compensation system is about revenues and about clients, not about geography or a specific service only.”

Duff and Phelps seems to have inspired a new type of work environment, where young talent has the opportunity to shine by specializing in a very specific field within the overall industry that will one day make a difference for one of the company’s client’s requests.

(1) Duff & Phelps: sailing through complexity when consulting, The Strategist, September 17th 2015.

(2) Duff & Phelps carries the ball in valuation services, Ideals, October 3rd 2015

(3) Duff and Phelps puts professional values first in valuation services and restructuring practices, Daily CSR, December 12th 2015

(4) Duff & Phelps’ tagline

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Categories: HR & Organization, Strategy

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