Audit report: competition probe not ruled out
The government has refused to rule out an investigation into the lack of competition at the top end of the audit market, calling for talks with the competition watchdog.
In its interim report, the joint review of auditing issues says the Department of Trade and Industry and HM Treasury should discuss with the Office of Fair Trading whether there are any competition implications ‘of the high concentration in the market for audit and accountancy services’.
But it is unclear how many solutions would be available if the OFT decided there was insufficient competition – it would be unlikely to recommend the break up of one or all of the big firms.
The Financial Services Authority has already expressed concerns at the lack of competition in the audit mark for listed companies.