PracticeConsulting‘Big Five firms will still split’

'Big Five firms will still split'

Big Five firms will still need to split their audit and consultancy services despite the US Securities and Exchange Commission's climbdown, according to the chairman of Ernst & Young.

Nick Land said the market would force the changes despite the lack of regulatory pressure on the big firms.

Speaking a week before E&Y publishes its annual report, expected to reveal double- digit growth, Land said the consulting sector was going through radical change.

‘To be a global leader you need to have IT content and capability, as there is increasing convergence between consultancies and hardware and software companies,’ he said.

‘But would you have the investment power to meet the revolution?’ he asked. Earlier this year Ernst & Young completed the sale of its consultancy to Cap Gemini for $8bn.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ negotiations to sell its consultancy to Hewlett Packard collapsed earlier this month.

Land listed a number of hurdles for other Big Five firms, including market volatility and the small number of realistic options, particularly a trade sale.’There are not that many businesses out there that can afford to do this or would contemplate doing it,’ said Land.

KPMG’s efforts to seek an IPO in the US have been delayed first by regulatory issues and more recently by market conditions.

Deloitte & Touche remain committed to retaining the firm’s consultancy arm.

Links

Analysis: New consultancy landscape

Final SEC rules

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