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Big Four changes

EY looking at private equity push ahead of audit reform

Thomas Cook shop

EY is being investigated over the collapse of Thomas Cook

Big Four accountancy and advisory firm EY is making a big push into private equity as it reshapes the business ahead of likely regulatory changes.

Options being examined include redirecting current partners into new roles as it looks at strengthening its deal origination functions.

EY has played down the connection between audit reform and its private equity expansion plans.

However, imminent government reforms that could see the advisory businesses of the Big Four firms being split from their audit arms are prompting them to consider various options.

An EY spokesman said: “EY’s private equity practice continues to grow, as does private equity as an investment class. Like any well-run business, we are always looking to attract and retain the best talent to support our growth and best serve our clients’ needs.”

Moves to reform the audit sector follow a series of scandals such as the failures of travel company Thomas Cook, department store BHS and outsourcer Carillion.

EY is being investigated by regulator the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) in connection with its audits of Thomas Cook in 2017 and 2018.

EY last week announced that its UK and Ireland chairman and managing partner Steve Varley will be leaving his latter role to become global vice chairman for sustainability.

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