News in brief.

The sale of KPMG’s European consulting practice is unlikely to be affected by recent turbulence in the financial markets and could be completed within six months, industry sources have said. It is most likely the division, which now operates as a separate entity across Europe, will be sold to its sister company KPMG Consulting Inc in the US, which floated on the NASDAQ in February, rather than seeking a listing itself.

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SSL International, the beleaguered condom and rubber glove manufacturer, has appointed KPMG as its new auditor, ousting existing auditor Andersen. The switch followed the discovery of a #50m black hole in the company’s accounts, currently being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office. Forensic accountants from KPMG had also been brought in to investigate by new FD Gary Watts, a former partner at the firm.

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Alliance & Leicester’s finance director Richard Pym has stepped up to become managing director at the mortgage bank after the sudden departure of Peter McNamara. Chartered accountant Pym had been group finance director since 1993 and as managing director, retail banking, will report to executive chairman John Windeler. Pym will be replaced by David Bennett, currently executive director responsible for partnership development.

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Simon Bevan has retired as managing partner of BDO Stoy Hayward’s south-east firm effective 30 August after only 18 months into a three-year term. Bevan said he has retired due to family responsibilities and because he misses client work. But his retirement comes as the firm begins implementing a new business strategy. He will be replaced by a so far unnamed managing partner elected on Monday.

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Kvaerner, the Anglo-Norwegian engineering group, has appointed an acting chief financial officer after incumbent John Charlton resigned last weekend. The company, which has been hit by cash flow crisis and debt problems, installed Finn Berg Jacobsen, a former Andersen partner, as its new acting CFO. He is expected to hold the position with Kvaerner for a period of six to nine months.

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Tenon, the accountancy-based services group, has announced three partners from HLB Kidsons will be defecting to its Birmingham office. Chris Steele, a tax specialist, and business services partners Russell Homer and Ross Cocker, will join the consolidator this month from Kidsons’ office in Birmingham. Kidsons said although it was sad to see ‘valued colleagues’ leave, it would ensure clients were not affected.

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Measures aimed at stepping up the financial crackdown on terror groups have been outlined during emergency discussions in the House of Commons. Increasing the authorities’ ability to decode encrypted email and other internet traffic and the introduction of ID cards were discussed during the second emergency recall of parliament since the terror attacks in the US. Foreign secretary Jack Straw has also said opponents of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act were ‘naive’.

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The board of troubled financial software vendor QSP, has requested its shares be suspended from the London Stock Exchange. As a result its ordinary shares were suspended from Monday. It is understood the board of QSP has reviewed the impact the suspension will have on the adoption of the 2001 executive option scheme at an EGM planned for next week. A spokesman for the company said the events in the US last month and market conditions over the last year had caused the move.

The company statement can be read at

Tax-free betting is set to start this Saturday (6 October). It was originally planned to start next January, but the rapid progress made by bookmakers and Customs & Excise made the early start date possible. The duty was scrapped in an attempt to stem the flow of bookies moving offshore. Bookmakers will instead be taxed on their gross profits at 15%, meaning punters will no longer pay 9% tax.

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