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CMA looks at tackling Big Four’s stranglehold of U.K. audit market

Neil Hodge | December 18, 2018

The U.K. practices of the world’s biggest accounting firms face a major overhaul as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) looks into whether they should be broken up.

The United Kingdom’s competition watchdog has outlined “serious” competition concerns caused by the Big Four’s dominance of the audit market and has proposed changes to legislation to improve the sector and allow other audit firms greater access.

The CMA wants to separate external audit from consulting services, impose a “joint audit” regime so that firms outside the Big Four can gain a bigger foothold in auditing the United Kingdom’s biggest companies, and introduce measures to substantially increase the accountability of those chairing audit committees in firms.

The regulator wants closer scrutiny of audit appointment and management to make sure that those appointing auditors are...

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