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March 1, 2011

UK body warns of Big Four dominance

The UK Accountants Joint Disciplinary Scheme (AJDC) has warned that audit market concentration has lead to confinement of audit expertise to the Big Four.

The last annual report by the AJDC said this leads to difficulties in finding qualified expert witnesses for disciplinary bodies and civil litigation.

“The experience is that retired partners from the four largest firms, if not otherwise conflicted, are unlikely to want to make the time commitment necessary to write an expert report on a big, high profile investigation,” the report said.

“An example of the danger which the litigation system faces from this dependence on only four firms can be seen in the Equitable Life Assurance Society case, where the three large firms not involved were conflicted out of acting against Ernst & Young,” the AJDS explained

The AJDC has also said that in some cases firms are not complying with AJDC regulation.

The AJDC has been replaced by the Accounting & Actuarial Discipline Board in 2005 and the 2008/2010 was the last overview of their cases.

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