OFT edges toward decision on audit market

A PROVISIONAL decision on whether the audit market should be refeered to the Competition Commission for review will come before the end of August, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has said.

The OFT’s statement failed to reveal if the issue would be referred but said a consultation document would be published alongside its decision.

The OFT said: “The statement will be accompanied by a consultation document on the OFT’s provisional decision on whether or not to refer this market to the Competition Commission. The precise period of the consultation will be set out in the consultation document and accompanying statement.”

The OFT has staged a series of rountables on the issue along with a number of bilateral meetings. Meetings have been held with nine auditors, investor organisations, shareholders, professional bodies and regulators.

“All the meetings have been focused on the question of whether there is a reasonable chance that appropriate remedies would be available to the Competition Commission in the event that the OFT referred the market for statutory audit services to large firms in the UK for detailed investigation,” the OFT said.

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