Challenger firms increase their share of the FTSE 250 audit market

News types: Publications

Published: 14 July 2021

New data from the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has revealed the challenger audit firms have increased their share of FTSE 250 audits, up from 4.8% to 7.6%, however all FTSE 100 companies continue to be audited by a Big Four firm.

Improving competition across the FTSE 350 audit market remains a key focus for the FRC, and the Government recently consulted on major reforms to improve choice and competition in the audit market.

The FRC’s latest Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession (KFAT) found that the five largest challenger firms outside the Big Four audited 19 FTSE 350 companies, up from 10 the previous year.

Despite the challenging economic environment, the Big Four firms increased their average audit fee income per Responsible Individual (RI)* by 7.7%. Those firms outside the Big Four, with Public Interest Entity clients, also increased their average audit fee income per RI by 4.7%. There has been a continual increase in the average audit fee income per RI for all firms since 2004 when the FRC began its data collection for this publication.

FRC CEO, Sir Jon Thompson, said:

“It is encouraging that the challenger firms have increased their share of the FTSE 350 audit market, albeit from a low base, however it is clear the Big Four continue to dominate the FTSE audit market.
Improving competition across the audit market and ensuring audit firms focus, above all else, on delivering high-quality audit is essential to improving trust in audit and corporate governance and remains a key priority for the FRC as it transitions to becoming ARGA.”

Full report

Notes to editors:

* Responsible Individuals/statutory auditors have been awarded the recognised professional qualification in audit, hold a practising certificate and can sign an audit report on behalf of their firm.

Membership of the accountancy bodies continues to grow. The seven bodies in this report have over 380,000 members in the UK and ROI and over 575,000 members worldwide. Whilst there are over 160,000 students in the UK and ROI and over 580,000 worldwide, student numbers in the UK and ROI decreased by 2.1% and by 2.7% worldwide from 2019 to 2020.

Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession provides statistical data and trends on the members and students in the accountancy profession, plus audit firms with Public Interest Entity (PIE) clients. Information is obtained from the following accountancy bodies: the six UK Chartered Accountancy bodies, the Association of International Accountants (AIA) and the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).

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