EY UK is the latest Big Four firm to be granted an alternative business structure (ABS) licence by the Regulation Authority, enabling it to provide legal services in England and Wales.

EY UK’s move echoes the global strategy of the network to make the multidisciplinary approach a global selling point.

According to the network, EY’s global law practice already has over 1,100 people in 60 locations. In the last 12 months, EY has also created legal teams in Mexico, Costa Rica, Singapore, China, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand, and will have a presence in more than 80 jurisdictions by 2017.

EY’s chairman and regional managing partner in the UK & Ireland Steve Varley told the International Accounting Bulletin the move is in response to client needs, as well as the global strategy of the business.

"We are not doing this to compete by traditional law firms. This is a part of a package for our existing clients that are asking us for these services."

EY’s global law leader Cornelius Grossmann said: "Having a presence within the UK legal market is an important step as we continue to grow globally. The granting of an ABS will complement EY’s already established multidisciplinary law offering as we expand our network internationally."

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EY UK now joins PwC and KPMG which have already secured the licence earlier in the year.

Deloitte UK chief executive David Sproul told IAB for the upcoming UK survey that the firm is not looking to secure an ABS licence for the time being, however. He said: "we do continue to review if this is something that could be complimentary to what we do and at this stage the answer is no".


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