The Chartered Accountancy firm of Rawlinson & Hunter was established in London in 1933 during The Great Depression by Alfred Rawlinson and Robert Hunter. The Firm has flourished by continually updating and refreshing its services to meet the challenges of evolving tax, financial and regulatory laws, by focusing on niche markets, and by putting client service first and foremost in everything it does.
After successfully navigating the challenges faced by the UK during the Second World War, including temporarily moving the Firm to rural Oxfordshire to escape The Blitz, Hunter journeyed to the US in 1945, and again in 1946 with Rawlinson, where they visited an old client living in Bermuda. This coincided with the first direct flights between the US and Bermuda and the introduction of a favourable tax system and tourist economy on the island. The visit ultimately led to the establishment of Rawlinson & Hunter’s first overseas office in Bermuda in the early 1960s by future UK senior partner Bob Spooner, as the Firm sought to support its UK clients with extensive tourism and hotel interests there.
A chance encounter on an aeroplane between future UK senior partner Peter Hetherington and a Jersey accountant resulted in the foundation of the Firm’s Jersey office in 1972. This was at a time when many individuals were emigrating from the UK to Jersey to escape the all-time high UK income tax rate of 136% in the late 1960s, and 98% in the early 1970s. The Firm’s Jersey practice was established at a time when the island was growing rapidly as an international financial centre.
The Guernsey office was established in 1980 to meet the needs of specific international clients of the Firm, taking advantage of Guernsey’s similarly thriving financial services industry. More than 40 years on, the Guernsey firm continues to grow.
The Cayman Islands office was established in 1973, originally to complement the services offered to clients through the Bermuda office. This British Overseas Territory steadily developed to become a leading international financial centre in the region.
Switzerland has always been the leading international financial centre in continental Europe, and during its early years Rawlinson & Hunter had served many Swiss-based corporate clients due to Robert Hunter’s frequent trips to the country. To support its Swiss-based clients, the Firm therefore opened an office in Geneva in 1982, and this was eventually followed by a Zürich office in 2011. The old Geneva office left the grouping in 2019 but the Firm is now once again operating in Geneva, having opened a new office there in 2021.
By the 1980s, the British Virgin Islands had also developed into a leading international financial and tourism centre to fund its public services, and this led to Peter Hetherington and future Jersey senior partner, David Goar, establishing the Firm’s office on the islands in 1988 to supports clients engaged in business there.
A year earlier, in 1987, the Firm opened a representative office in Sydney, Australia to support clients with business interests Down Under. This was carried out under the umbrella of a respected Australian firm, Boroughs, a similarly private client focused firm of Chartered Accountants established in 1945. A decade and a half later, in 2003, the Firm extended this model by opening a representative office on the other side of the Ditch in Whanganui, New Zealand.
By now Singapore had established itself as the leading international financial centre in Asia, and the Firm found itself with increasing numbers of clients with business interests in the country. To support these clients, the Firm opened its first Asian office in Singapore in 2013.