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Big four accounting groups escape breakup threat from CMA

Financial Reporting Council proposes changes to give smaller groups access to the largest clients, but avoids ‘nuclear option’ of a breakup

The big four accounting groups, KPMG, Deloitte, PwC and EY, have escaped the threat of a breakup after the competition regulator stopped short of calling for radical action against them.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) proposed instead that audits of the UK’s biggest companies, listed on the FTSE 350, should be carried out by at least two firms, one of which should be from outside the big four. The proposals came as an independent review called for the abolition of the accounting industry’s “weak” regulator, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), amid accusations that it has been too cosy with firms it is meant to regulate.

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