THE MOST LUCRATIVE AUDIT in the FTSE 100 has been awarded to PwC after the Big Four firm replaced KPMG as auditors of HSBC.
The appointment cements PwC’s position as the most dominant auditors of the banking industry, with the firm already vetting the accounts of Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group.
HSBC, Europe’s largest bank by market capitalisation, paid KPMG, which has been the bank’s auditors since 1991, £31.5m in audit fees last year, according to data compiled by Accountancy Age’s sister title Financial Director.
PwC’s appointment follows the Competition Commission’s decision to force companies to consider switching auditors every five years in an effort to foster more rivalry for top-level audit contracts.
As a result of the Competition Commission investigation and similar pressure being brought to bear by the FRC and in Europe, some of Britain’s largest companies have been replacing their auditors.
On Wednesday, PwC replaced Deloitte as auditors of Britain’s biggest fund seller Hargreaves Lansdown, while Unilever recently announced it would be ditching PwC as its auditors after 26 years, as the result of changes to audit rules in the Netherlands.
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