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Big Four: Please don’t break us up

Paul Hodgson | February 12, 2019

Last week, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published 72 responses to its 18 December proposals to reform the U.K. audit market. The CMA review is runs alongside three other concurrent reviews of the audit industry—one by Sir John Kingman that takes in the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), another from Sir Donald Brydon, the outgoing chair of the London Stock Exchange, which offers a government-sponsored review examining the scope of audit more widely, and the last from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee. The BEIS probe aims to ensure the findings of Kingman and the CMA are “not left to gather dust,” according to Chair Rachel Reeves.

These reviews were instituted not just because of the Big Four dominance of the market, but also because of high-profile audit failures at BHS, Carillion, and—most recently—Patisserie Valerie.

A response from the Institute for Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) supports a...

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