Competition Commission delay won’t halt EU audit reforms

THE COMPETITION COMMISSION’S decision to delay publishing its findings into an audit market investigation will not deter the European Parliament’s planned timetable for reforms.

British MEP Sajjad Karim (pictured) is currently steering the European Commission’s contentious planned reform of the audit market through the European Parliament and said he will press ahead with the European reforms as planned.

Earlier this month the Competition Commission said it was delaying publishing the findings of its investigation into the audit market until January – originally due for release next month.

However, Karim told Reuters: “We had hoped for some level of insight into what they are doing, but we are going to carry on.”

The UK watchdog into competition began investigating the Big Four’s dominance of the FTSE 350 audit market last year, and as a result of the delay, will not publish its final findings until August next year.

A Competition Commission spokesperson gave no specific reason for the delay, commenting that moving administrative timetables back was quite common.

MEP Karim, who has already released a working paper on proposed audit reforms, will publish final amendments to the EC’s proposal on 11 November.

In an exclusive interview with Accountancy Age last week, Karim said of the reforms: “Neither is it a healthy situation that we deliver on a political path where we do something because we need to be seen to do so, nor is it that we maintain the status quo. I don’t want that to be seen as the eventual outcome.”

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