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About Private Company Services

Located in all major US markets, PwC’s Private Company Services (PCS) is a national practice comprised of more than 170 partners who provide customized tax, audit and advisory services to private companies, their owners and high net worth individuals. The majority of America’s largest private companies are PCS clients1. They span a broad scope of sectors and industries ranging from manufacturing to retail to industrial to professional services. A hallmark of PCS is a robust thought leadership program that provides clients with timely, thought-provoking information to help manage and grow their businesses and wealth.
1 Forbes America’s Largest Private Companies 2015

PCS professionals are regularly sought out for their insight and opinion on issues of national and local interest affecting their audience. A number of recent articles featuring people from our Private Company Services practice - including Personal Financial Services (PFS) - are included below, as well as an archive of coverage over the past months.

Featured news

    Mortgage as a Tool for Retirement Saving
December 21, 2016 used PwC's 2016 Financial Wellness Survey as a basis for their article featuring tips for increasing savings for those who are among the 50% within the ages of 56 to 73 who don't have $100,000 or more saved for retirement. Tips focus on tapping into what is generally people’s largest asset – their homes. Ideas include shortening your mortgage term so that it’s paid off by the time you retire, a home equity line of credit, cash-out refinancing and reverse mortgages. 

USA Today: Half of American baby boomers face a frightening retirement reality
December 9, 2016
This story, which originated in The Motley Fool, used PwC’s Financial Wellness survey as the basis for their findings about the amount of savings baby boomers have for retirement.  According the 2016 Wellness Survey, 50% of baby boomers only have $100,000 or less saved for retirement and even worse, 25% have taken money out of their retirement accounts.  Those statistics plus the fact that 32% of young adults aged 18-34 are living at home and being helped by their parents have contributed significantly to the retirement savings problems in America. According to the article, ways to help offset low savings include delaying retirement until age 70, reduce debt as quickly as possible and getting the most out of social security.

President & CEO: Focus on Middle Market (Podcast Series): Trendsetter Barometer, 3Q 2016 – with Ken Esch, PwC
December 5, 2016
CEO and founder of President & CEO magazine, Paul Stukel, interviewed Ken Esch about the results of the Q3 Trendsetter Report.  Topics discussed included uncertainty levels going into the election, immigration and the impact on hiring, operational spending, and M&A activity.

WSJ Podcasts: WSJ Watching Your Wealth: Year-End Tax Tips for Wealthy Millennials
November 24, 2016
In this podcast, Brittney Saks, US leader for PwC's Personal Financial Services practice, says that with a Republican in the White House and Republican control of the House and Senate, taxes may go down so millennials may want to consider deferring income, accelerating deductions and harvesting portfolio losses now.

.Mic: Here's exactly how Donald Trump could hurt the middle class - and how to fight back
November 17, 2016

In the .Mic article, Brent Lipschultz, a PFS partner in New York, commented on the "fiduciary rule" (currently scheduled for 2017; it may be repealed) that limits financial professionals to selling only those financial and retirement products that are in a customer's best interest. "That's a very helpful rule, it forces banks to look at holistic advisory services as opposed to selling products. I think it would be bad to get rid of it." In terms of Trump's economic policies' impact on the middle class? Lipschultz reminded the audience that while the GOP controls the Senate, "they don't have a super majority, so there is still the possibility for 'give and take' as the tax and regulatory policies are hashed out."

Accounting Today: Private Companies Reassess Economy
November 3, 2016

According to PwC's Q3 Trendsetter Barometer, 83% of private companies anticipate revenue growth. This is down from 91% in the previous quarter. Along with that, 75% of private companies plan to increase operational spending. "That's higher than last year," says Ken Esch, PCS partner and Trendsetter leader. Private companies are also continuing to invest in new products and services and are planning to increase capital expenditures. Hiring is another story. Headcounts are expected to remain flat and wage growth is slowing a bit. Economic uncertainty leading up to the election played a big role in these findings.

BenefitsPro: 10 ways employee financial wellness is getting worse
November 1, 2016
According to PwC's 2016 Employee Financial Wellness Survey, 52% of surveyed employees say they are stressed out about their finances and 45% say that this stress has increased over the past 12 months. The stress affects more than just the employees, it affects the employers as well. Two outcomes: work productivity goes down and absenteeism goes up. The article identified 10 financial issues that result from this stress. These issues range from increased financial responsibility for parents and in-laws, student loan concerns for millennials, concern about a job loss.

Wealth Management: 2017 Promises Only Uncertainty for HNW Clients
October 19, 2016
This story in featured Brittney Saks, Partner and US Leader of the Personal Financial Services practice and Evelyn Capassakis, a Principal in the practice. With the announcement of the release of PCS' 2017 Guide to Tax and Wealth Management, the story talked about the uncertainty that high net worth individuals are feeling as a result of the wildly divergent possibilities for the coming year with the upcoming election.  While the candidates' tax plans vary widely however, both agree that carried interest and foreign earnings need to be addressed.

Wall Street Journal, CIOJournal: The Skills Gap is No Laughing Matter
October 5, 2016
This piece discusses the skills gap and impact on the future growth of companies.  Although some distinguished economists refute the notion of a skills gap, c-suite executives and others such as Gartner, the PwC CEO Survey and the Hays Global Skills Index indicate that the skills gap is a tremendous issue and threatens business growth and productivity.  Ken Esch, Chicago-based PCS partner and leader of the Trendsetter Report says that corporations must do a better job leveraging technology to move work to available labor.  Like-wise, workers must realize their next job might not be in an adjacent zip code. 

Mic: Here are 5 smart money moves for millennials who want to grow real wealth
October 5, 2016
With the release of the 2017 Guide to Tax and Wealth Management, Bill Fleming, managing director in PwC's Personal Financial Services practice, discussed with Mic, an online publication for millennials, the benefit of taking tax deductions and ones that are frequently overlooked by young tax payers. These include no taking credit for state income taxes already paid, particularly for those who spend at least half of their time working in another state. 

Atlanta Business Chronicle: People on the Move - Randy Butler
September 19, 2016
An announcement of Randy Butler's new role as the Greater Atlanta Private Company Services Market Leader was featured in the People on the Move section of the September 19 edition of the Atlanta Business Chronicle.  

WHYY - Public Radio (Philadelphia): Millennials & Credit Cards/Financial Literacy
September 14, 2016
Kent Allison, PwC partner overseeing the firm's Financial Wellness program, participated in the WHYY Radio Times program with Marty Moss-Coane.  Helaine Olen, columnist for Slate and host of the Slate Academy podcast The United States of Debt and Sean McQuay, credit card expert at Nerd/Wallet joined him in the discussion on the live call-in show.

11th Annual STEP Private Client Awards
September 9, 2016
Clare Stirzaker and Sian Steele from PwC along with Penny Lovell from Close Brothers Asset Management were awarded the Family Business Advisory Team of the Year at the 11th Annual STEP Private Client Awards in London. 

New York Times: Slower Growth in Jobs Report May Give Fed Pause on Interest Rates
September 2, 2016
Ken Esch, PCS partner and Trendsetter Leader and the Q2 ’16 Trendsetter Barometer were included in the September 2 New York Times article on the US Labor Departments’ August Jobs Report. The piece discussed the economy, interest rates, employment, wages and responses from the presidential candidates.

The number of prime-age workers still out of the labor market was also discussed. “A lot of people are still on the bench that could come into the labor market,” said Ken Esch, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers or PwC, an accounting and consulting network. “Until more people are participating, I don’t see the inflationary pressures, and our data says we don’t expect to see much over the next 12 months.

Retail Leader: Controlling Your Destiny
August 22, 2016
PCS partner Tom Sullivan was interviewed for this in depth article about the benefits and challenges for privately-held companies in the retail sector. The article touched on a broad range of challenges for private companies including capital constraints, succession planning, and the decision to take on a private equity partner. Discussing the considerations when deciding to return to a private capital structure, or restructure an ESOP, Sullivan said: "It's incumbent on the owners of a private retailer to understand the cost of private equity investors, in board seats and covenants they might require."

SHRM: Financial Wellness Success Requires Proactive HR
August 30, 2016

This issue of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)'s online publication included key findings from PwC's 2016 Employee Financial Wellness Survey in the lead article that discussed how the changing workforce demographics are impacting how employers need to be approaching employee benefits. According to the piece, with the workforce becoming younger, employers are seeing the need to help the many employees who face short-term money issues. These money issues are confirmed by PwC's survey. In the piece, Kent Allison, PCS partner and leader of PwC's Financial Wellness group discussed the type of financial education that should be offered stating that education should be delivered in the context of employees' needs at the moment.

Accounting Today: Private Companies Feeling Less Optimistic
August 9, 2016

Ken Esch and the Q2 2016 Trendsetter Barometer Report were included in this August 9, 2016 article in Accounting Today. The piece reported that optimism levels and plans to increase head count were both down from the first quarter of the year. Esch explained why: "our recent [survey] history shows that the results on optimism levels and growth expectations tend to trend downward leading into an election." He also said that low growth expectations are seen to be aligned with the low growth in the gross domestic product. There is good news, however. The private companies reporting in this quarter’s Trendsetter Barometer are showing a stable reading on capital investments - an indicator that private companies’ owners and leaders are taking a long-view of the economy. Further to that point: 91% of private company leaders say that they expect their own businesses to grow up from 86% in the first quarter of the year.

Employee Benefit Adviser: Views: 4 ways advisers can match benefits with client

July 26, 2016
PwC’s Financial Wellness Survey was referred to in this article about how Millennials and Gen X want a different employee benefit mix than their parents. Work/life balance is more important to this generation than to baby boomers as overwhelmingly demonstrated by this year’s survey findings. Respondents also said that they see their work and personal life integrated and they want the ability to get the job done as they see fit. Other key take-aways for advisers who want to match benefits to the needs of the workforce: 1) financial wellness transcends generations, (2) business owners should consider a broader approach to time off, (3) voluntary benefits can help control costs.

New Jersey Business Journal: Triple Play: Shawn Panson
July 17, 2016
Private Company Services leader, Shawn Panson, was interviewed for Triple Play, a weekly NJBIZ feature that asks top executives in New Jersey to talk about their industry. In the piece, Shawn talked about the role private companies play in the U.S. 1) They are the economic growth engine for the country, (2) they drive innovation, (3) Their optimism and pessimism levels are predictive of the GDP and provide valuable insight into the economy’s future trajectory. 

New York Times: Lifting the Second-Generation Curse
July 13, 2016
Private Company Services’ (PCS) Family Business Survey and Family Business Leader, Jon Flack, were included in this piece on the low percentage of family businesses that make it to the second generation. PwC’s Family Business Survey found that almost three-quarters of family businesses don’t have a succession plan for senior roles and half of the founders stay involved too long. According to Jon, “with a founder generation struggling to let go, we often see them hand over the title, but they don’t really give over the control or the leadership.”


Huffington Post: Financial Wellness and Millennials: Hard Times Yield Important Lessons
June 13, 2016
Bylined by Kent Allison, Financial Wellness & Employee Education leader for PwC, this piece discusses how the millennials are approaching saving. According to the article, having watched their parents' homes and portfolio values take a large hit in the economic downturn in 2008, millennials are controlling their spending, worrying about retirement and stressing about everyday financial expenses. The result is that millennials are taking approaches at a young age that should serve them well over the course of their lifetime. & Estates: Next-Gen Family Business Leaders Raise the Bar
May 24, 2016
Jon Flack, Private Company Services partner and co-leader of the US Family Business group, was interviewed for this piece that discussed the results of PwC’s survey of Next-Gen family business leaders around the globe. According to the report, next-gen leaders are more prepared, confident and ambitious than their predecessors. Yet despite this, many respondents acknowledge that they are still struggling with convincing the current generation (their parents) of the important role digital technology plays in their businesses. According to Flack, “Most next-gens have been saturated in new technology all their lives, so it’s no surprise they expect it to play a significant role in shaping their family business.”

Fortune: Student Debt Is Derailing Boomers’ Retirement
May 6, 2016
The U.S. students’ $1.3 trillion debt is not only creating significant issues for the Millennials, but also for their parents, says the Fortune article. According to PwC’s Financial Wellness survey, employees in all age groups are impacted by student loans. More than one in three employees indicated that they are currently putting nothing aside for retirement at all but rather ear marking retirement money for student loans.

Accounting Today: Employers Added 160,000 Jobs in April, Including 900 in Accounting
May 6, 2016
In the May 6 Accounting Today article, which discussed the April jobs report issued by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ken Esch, Private Company Services (PCS) partner and leader of the Trendsetter Quarterly Report, talked about private companies’ cautious hiring that was reported in PCS’ Q 1 2016 Trendsetter Report. “Though the majority of private companies are planning to increase headcount, fewer plan to hire in the next 12 months. Given this context, we should expect companies to hire very cautiously over the next year.”

Huffington Post: Financial Stress Surging Among Millennials
April 27, 2016
According to the Huffington Post article written by Kent Allison, partner and leader of PwC’s Employee Financial Education and Wellness practice, Millennials are suffering from the weight of financial fears - an issue that is affecting their job performance and personal well-being. In PwC’s 2016 Employee Financial Survey, this age group - those born between 1982 and 2000 - were more burdened by financial stress than any other age group. The reasons are many including student loan debt and salaries that are not keeping pace with the cost of living. Further evidence of the growing issue, a full 50 percent of millennials think they’ll likely need to use the money in their retirement plans for expenses other than retirement. The good news? More employers are taking notice and looking for ways to assist these employees.

CNBC: Your new office workout - Financial fitness
April 23, 2016
According to the article, 55 percent of employers offer help to employees for a myriad of financial issues including budgeting and debt management to investing, and saving to buy a house. By year end that number is expected to rise to 77 percent of large- and mid-sized companies that will provide at least one such financial wellness program and 52 percent will offer programs around three or more categories. Why?

This interest comes as a result of reports of the growingly gloomy picture of employees’ financial health. Over half of workers say they are stressed about their finances and 45 percent saying that their worries have worsened over the past 12 months. "Companies recognize that there's an issue," said Kent Allison, partner and national leader of PwC's Employee Financial Wellness practice. Yet with the high number of companies offering help, participation rate is low - a frustration to employers. 

Accounting Today: Financial Stress Climbing among U.S. Workers
April 19, 2016
Fifty-two percent of respondents to PwC US’s 2016 Employee Financial Wellness Survey said they are feeling stressed about finances, while 45 percent said their stress has climbed over the past 12 months. According to Kent Allison, partner and PwC’s leader of the Employee Financial Education and Wellness practice, “When we looked at some of the underpinnings of what was causing concern, they centered around not having enough cash flow to deal with any type of emergency. We’ve been having some instability in the marketplace, and we’re still dealing with challenges around stagnant wages. Being an election year, there’s uncertainty around who is going to driving us going forward.”

Washington Business Journal: The Donohoe dynasty
March 18, 2016
The Washington Business Journal recently ran a story and accompanying video on The Donohoe Cos, a fifth-generation family business in the Washington, D.C.-area. Leadership challenges were discussed, particularly transitions from one generation to the next. The article highlighted PwC’s 2014-2015 Family Business Survey’s statistic that 73 percent of family businesses lack a formal succession plan. The current CEO and Chairman of Donohoe then discussed how his family approached the issue. “The key? he said. “Having ‘somebody defined in the next generation that wants to lead'."

PwC rated as a Vanguard Leader in Financial Wellness by ALM Intelligence
March, 2016
In March 2016 PwC's Financial Wellness practice was rated as an advancing Vanguard Leader in financial wellness. This rating is awarded to those firms that demonstrate either market-leading depth in a specific area or meaningful depth across a range of areas. PwC is "particularly strong in its financial wellbeing capabilities...“PwC’s Employee Financial Education and Wellness practice has a well-developed financial wellbeing advisory offering that is ahead of the curve, as companies begin to embrace wellness beyond the physical, drawing upon the firm’s significant financial advisory capabilities and tailoring them to the individual to make smart decisions.

PwC Honored at the Family Wealth Awards
March 11, 2016
The Family Wealth Report announced the winners of the third annual Family Wealth Awards held in New York, NY on March 10, 2016. More than 400 were in attendance at this gala event which annually recognizes high quality service and achievement at both the individual and institutional level.

Brittney Saks, PCS partner and Personal Financial Services leader, accepted the award PwC received for Tax Advise under the Private Client Category.

SHRM: U.S. Job Growth Remains Positive, Wages Still Down
March 4, 2016
The March issue of the Society for Human Resource Management’s online publication discussed that although the latest labor market report showed higher than expected job growth, wages are troubling according to economists at the online job sites Indeed and Glassdoor. In the article, Ken Esch, PCS partner and leader of the Trendsetter report added to the discussion. “Finding qualified workers continues to be a challenge for many companies. Highly targeted hiring is a common tactic we’re seeing among many of our private company clients. It points to demographic shifts in the workforce and to core changes in U.S. manufacturing, where employees with specialized skills are increasingly replacing workers who typically manned pre-recession factory floors. This dynamic could eventually lead to an uptick in wage growth.”

Accounting Today: IRS Experienced Identify Theft of IP PINs
March 2, 2016
In the March 2 edition of Accounting Today, Personal Financial Services managing director, Bill Fleming was interviewed for a piece about theft of IP pin numbers.  According to Fleming, his clients are experiencing other problems with the IP PINs as well. He said the problem with the IP PIN notices has turned out to be a big mess for the IRS. “We should be sympathetic to them because I think they’re getting a lot of electronic stuff that been filed incorrectly so they’ve got to work to clean all that up, and that’s a major job,” said Fleming. “I have a lot of sympathy for them, but we’re just waiting to see what’s going to happen and wondering how much of it is going to be OK and how much of it is not going to be OK.”

New York Times: Wages Rise as U.S. Unemployment Rate Falls Below 5%

February 5, 2016
PCS's fourth-quarter 2015 Trendsetter Report findings were included in the research discussed this New York Times article about the increase in wages that has been recently seen. According to the article, companies were budgeting salary raises of nearly 3 percent in 2016 - the biggest annual increase since the recovery began.  More than a third of the executives interviewed for this Trendsetter Report expressed concern about labor costs eating into profits. “No doubt about it, I’m hearing that executives are seeing wage pressures and not just in a few pockets of the country,” said Ken Esch, a partner at PwC. “It’s pretty broad-based.” Businesses Plan to Keep Hiring, But Not Paying More
February 3, 2016
PCS's fourth-quarter 2015 Trendsetter Report's finding that U.S. companies are planning to add workers in the coming year but do not plan to increase wages was the focus of a story in Inc. Growth prospects and wage pressures are two concerns that were revealed in the quarterly report. According to PCS partner Margaret Young, "Many employers would hire more people if they could find applicants with the right skills but many of them simply can't."

Human Resource Executive Online: Healthy, Wealthy and Wise
January 27, 2016

This story discusses how a new retirement and financial well-being report revealed a desire among employers at large companies to provide financial well-being tools and resources to help their employees with their savings goals. PwC's 2015 Employee Financial Wellness Survey was cited in the article as follows," insufficient saving and planning for long-term goals is a result of "shifting greater responsibility for retirement funding to employees in the face of stagnant wages, disappearing defined-benefit pensions, changing Social Security and Medicare benefits, longer life spans and rising healthcare costs."

Crain's New York Business: Executive Moves
January 27, 2016
The Executive Moves section in Professional Services News section of Crain's New York Business included the appointment of Shawn Panson to U.S. Private Company Services Leader.  

Wine & Vines: Bonus Depreciation on Vines Extended
Growing Grapes Under the PATH ACT
January 6, 2016
PCS tax partner David Pardes was interviewed for a story that ran in this wine industry trade publication about the new PACT legislation signed into law in December. The legislation included new provisions that could benefit vineyard owners who are planting new vines. According to Pardes, the bonus depreciation of vines will be phases out in five years. This should encourage those vineyard owners who plan to plant new vines to do it while this benefit is still in effect.