FDs favour Fab Four over Big Five

Both the Financial Services Authority and the European Commission last week suggested they would investigate the proposed merger between the two firms, announced by Andersen UK chief John Ormerod just 10 ten days ago.

However, a survey of more than 260 FDs showed that those concerns are not shared by many of the companies who would be audited by a smaller pool of firms.

Some 42% of respondents said they had no objections to the merger. ‘The Andersen name is virtually non-existent now so I don’t see any real problems in a proposed merger.’ said one FD.

Voith Fabrics FD Harry Berry was more emphatic. ‘It’s amusing to see Andersen in trouble,’ he said. ‘It has always been expensive and had a high self-opinion.’

But 37% opposed the link. Wilcan Hamed FD Paul Kingston said: ‘Enron has shown what auditing is capable of. It’s a mistake to allow a smaller number of select top firms – similar to big banks.’

Of the 21% who remained neutral Avocet Hardware FD Graham Bradbury said: ‘If KPMG was my auditor I would be forced to reconsider the options in the event of the merger, and would question whether I would want to continue with KPMG if it was influenced by Andersen.’

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