April 7, 2019 / 11:21 PM / 5 months ago

KPMG plans overhaul of British business: The Times

FILE PHOTO: The logo of KPMG, a professional service company, is seen at the company's head offices at La Defense business and financial district in Courbevoie near Paris, France. May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

(Reuters) - KPMG is planning an overhaul of its British business to create an independent audit firm, regardless of any decision by the competition regulator to force a break-up of the Big Four accounting firms, The Times reported on Monday.

KPMG’s audit practice has 200 partners and about 5,000 staff, who could move to a standalone entity or to a subsidiary of KPMG if the plans go ahead, the newspaper said.

KPMG was not immediately available for a comment.

Parliament’s business committee last week urged the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to force EY, KPMG, Deloitte and PwC to separate audit and consultancy services to improve standards and transparency in book-keeping after audit failures at construction company Carillion and retailer BHS.

EY, KPMG, Deloitte and PwC have sought to head off being split up by voluntarily agreeing not to offer consultancy services to audit clients.

The government is expected to propose legislation to implement the audit shake-up once the CMA has published its final recommendations on the subject in coming weeks.

Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

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