Oxera backs reform of audit ownership rules


Market Directorate of the European Commission
has published an independent
study on the ownership rules of audit firms and whether changes to these rules
might help increase the number of international players in the audit market.

‘A large majority of respondents to the public consultation on possible
reform of liability rules in the EU were concerned about the issue of lack of
choice in the market for large international audits,’ Charlie McCreevy, internal
market and services commissioner, said. ‘I take those concerns seriously. The
question now is how to create opportunities for new players to enter the market.
The Oxera study provides valuable input to this debate and will help us in
deciding any further steps.’

The Oxera study showed restrictions on access to capital were one of several
potential barriers to entry in the market. Other barriers included reputation,
the need for international coverage, international management structures and
liability risk.

Analysis of an investment model developed to assess potential expansion plans
suggested an audit firm owned by external investors, rather than auditors, might
more easily decide on expansion into the market of large audits because existing
ownership structures might increase audit firms’ cost of raising capital by as
much as 10%.

Further reading:

Boldness a dirty word in audit choice reform

FRC report unlikely to affect audit choice

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