A senior economist with the consultants producing a report on accountants, lawyers and architects for the OFT confirmed that forcing firms to produce public accounts had been discussed but had then become a ‘secondary issue’.
He said time constraints had forced the investigators, from the Legal and Economic Consulting Group, to restrict their attention to key competition issues such as fee setting and training.
Jacob Glanville, project manager for the OFT report, said: ‘Reporting was discussed as an issue but it did not emerge as a major one for us. Our focus was on the competition impact.’
The investigation of the professions, ordered by the government early last year, is thought to have been launched as a means of rooting out ‘fat cat’ executives.
However speculation emerged over the Christmas holiday that action could be taken to force a cut in fees and that evidence had been found of restrictive practices.
It has also emerged that LECG has been examining in detail the English ICA’s rules on advertising.
The OFT said that it has released no information on the report which was submitted by LECG at the beginning of December to OFT head John Vickers.
The report is expected to be made public some time at the end of this month when the OFT reports to ministers at the Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industry.
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