An investigation into the Big Four's dominance of the UK blue chip audit market looks likely after the long-awaited publication of the findings of a governmnent-sponsored analysis of competition in the sector.
The report by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) examined the role of Ernst & Young, Deloitte, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers in auditing the UK's biggest companies.
It concluded that the Big Four's strangehold over the services was unhealthy for competition and prevents smaller firms from winning blue chip clients.
The study revealed that 97% of the FTSE 300 companies are currently audited by one of the Big Four.
Barriers to entry in the market for the four accountancy firms' smaller competitors are "high", it said, and under current conditions entry by a mid-tier business is "unlik...