KPMG considers pensions business sale

KPMG is considering the sale of its UK pensions advisory service after reports that it had drawn up secret plans to offload the business.

According to a Sky News report, the consulting giant could sell the service in a deal worth £120m and was prompted by interest from third party clients.

However, KPMG said as a “leading business in the sector” it regularly receives “unsolicited offers” but that is has made no firm decisions at this stage.

A KPMG UK spokesperson said: “Over the last few years, our UK pensions advisory business has grown significantly into a market leading business in the sector, advising both corporate clients and pension trustees, and as such, we regularly receive unsolicited offers and expressions of interest for the practice.

“Like any other large firm, we routinely assess the strategic fit of each business in our portfolio and as a result of this can confirm that following recent expressions of interest from third parties, we are exploring options for this area of the business.

“However, we have made no firm decisions over any eventual outcomes at this stage and will not comment further at this time.”

It follows growing complexities for the big four consultancy firms, PwC, KPMG, Deloitte and EY, as regulators consider reforms aimed at curbing the scale of the industry giants.

In April, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recommended a shake-up of the UK’s audit market, proposing several reforms to address the “vulnerability” of the industry and the “current inadequate choice and competition”.

The CMA’s main recommendations are for an operational split between audit and consultancy businesses.

KPMG UK chairman, Bill Michael, last year banned the firm from taking on consulting work for companies whose books are audited by it.

The collapse of Carillion also placed the spotlight on the auditing market, after KPMG, EY, PwC and Deloitte all had a part to play in auditing Carillion, however, it was the latter two that came under fire for the way it dealt with the firm’s pension provisions.

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