PracticeAccounting FirmsGT prepares to join FTSE100 club

GT prepares to join FTSE100 club

Strong performance of investment trust could give Grant Thornton's its first FTSE 100 client, but only for a fee of about £30,000

Grant Thornton is on the verge of breaking into the FTSE 100 audit market ­
with a contract worth less than £30,000.

The mid-tier firm currently audits Templeton Emerging Markets Investment
Trust, which was placed on the reserve list for the blue-chip index in the most
recent quarterly review.

The coup is unlikely to be widely hailed, however. Investment trusts are
often excluded from many studies of audit concentration, since they require less
auditing.
Though the accession to the FTSE 100 would break the total dominance of the Big
Four on the top index, Grant Thornton only makes £28,000 from the audit.

The firm also earns a further £7,000 in non-audit work. Such a return is
paltry compared to the figures the Big Four earn from top audits.

The achievement would not be rated as highly as BDO Stoy Hayward’s audit of
PartyGaming. The online gaming group dropped out of the FTSE 100 after the US
ban on gambling online.

Templeton’s competitors on the reserve list are Burberry, Alliance Trust,
Easyjet and Drax ­ all audited by Big Four firms.

Templeton is an investment fund owned by Franklin Templeton Investments, a
US-based company. The trust now has a market capital value of more than £2bn
after a surge in the last year.

Steve Maslin, Grant Thornton’s head of external professional affairs, said:
‘It’s nice to see your clients doing well.’

At the last quarterly review, seven companies exchanged their positions in
the FTSE 100 and 250, because of the volatility that has hit the capital markets
after the credit crunch.

The next FTSE 100 shake-up takes place in March.

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