Auditor clause investigation ‘not a foregone conclusion’

THE INVESTIGATION into restrictive bank clauses is by no means a foregone conclusion, the Office of Fair Trading has warned.

Government has asked the body to look into bank lending clauses that force customers to use a Big Four firm, but a spokesman said a final decision on whether it takes place will not come before April.

The OFT said it has kept the industry under review since 2002, but was unwilling to comment on the details of a possible enquiry.

James Roberts, audit partner at BDO, welcomed the proposed investigation, but warned against the ‘easy option’ of simply outlawing Big Four clauses.

He called on the OFT to take a “sensible approach” and be wary of disguised restrictions, which could take the form of insisting on previous experience of auditing listed companies.

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