PWC HAS BEEN REPLACED by Ernst & Young as auditors of Land Securities after vetting the books of Britain’s largest property developer for its entire 69-year history.
Land Securities is the latest FTSE 100 business to either change or consider changing its auditor following mounting scrutiny from regulators and politicians over the length of audit tenures.
In October, oil and gas explorer BG Group chose E&Y as its auditors after 16 years with PwC, while the firm also lost out to KPMG as Schroders changed its auditors for the first time in 50 years since it listed, though PwC was later reinstated.
Other large businesses are taking similar actions after the UK reporting watchdog revised the corporate governance code to require FTSE 350 businesses to put their audits out to tender every ten years – or explain why they didn’t.
The Competition Commission has also recommended that large-listed companies be forced to rotate or tender their audit every seven, ten or 14 years. In February, an investigation by commission found a lack of competition meant audits were failing to fulfil their intended purpose.
“In light of emerging best practice, this year we decided it was appropriate to put our external audit out to tender,” said Kevin O’Byrne, chair of Land Securities’ audit committee.
Three firms were involved in the tender process, Land Securities said.
According to E&Y, it now audits 33%, by market value, of the real estates of the 2012 Forbes Global Index.
Hywel Ball, head of assurance, UK & Ireland at E&Y, said: “We have always been extremely proud to be associated with the leading owners of real estate across the world and our UK real estate practice, comprising 325 real estate specialists, is delighted and honoured to be selected as the auditor of such a prestigious organisation as Land Securities.”
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