Last week we told how the Association of British Insurers thinks we need more competition amongst our auditors. The big four, that’s Deloitte Touche, Ernst Young, KPMG and PriceWaterhouseCoopers audit the accounts of 97 percent of all FTSE 350 companies, and the ABI said :“There are very few firms doing audits, they can influence too heavily the way auditing is organised and implemented..”
PWC didn’t like it. Peter Wyman, the head of professional affairs at the firm, said: “It is pretty brainless. What the ABI and I have in common is that we both want companies to be properly audited… but they are just missing the point. If there was a problem, the market would demand a solution. Don’t forget, we’re talking about some of the most powerful companies in the world.”
Now KPMG has joined the debate, and laid all the blame with its bigger rival, PWC.
KPMG’s head of risk management Neil Lerner said: “The current situation is a direct result of regulators permitting the Price Waterhouse/Coopers and Lybrand merger.” He added, “it’s difficult to see how this merger was in the public interest.”
Mr Lerner made his comments in a letter he wrote to the Financial Reporting Council who, at the request of the DTI are investigating the market.
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