KPMG UK has entered into exclusive talks to sell its pensions practice.

A KPMG spokesperson said: “Following significant interest in our market-leading pensions practice, we can confirm we have entered into exclusive talks with Exponent with a view to progressing a sale. We will not comment further while negotiations remain ongoing.”

The talks come as the Big Four face political and public scrutiny over the perceived conflicts of interest between audit and non-audit work.

Most recently, PwC’s UK head of Audit Hermione Hudson was questioned by MPs over the firms audit and non-audit work for travel company Thomas Cook which collapsed last month, prompting the largest peace-time repatriation effort in British history as 155,000 tourists were stranded outside of the UK.  

The Big Four have all defended the need for multi-disciplinary firms to ensure the quality of audit despite calls for them to be partitioned.

Earlier this year, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) called for an operational split of the between the Big Fours’ audit and non-audit practices while the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee’s (BEIS) Future of Audit report called for a full, legal structural break-up of the Big Four.