HSBC awards market's top audit to PricewaterhouseCoopers

PricewaterhouseCoopers has won the most lucrative audit in the FTSE 100 after being chosen to replace KPMG at banking giant HSBC.

Europe's biggest bank by market value paid KPMG £53m in fees last year. It has employed KPMG since the takeover of Midland Bank and listing on the London stock market in 1991.

The decision reinforces PWC's dominance as the UK's biggest audit firm. The accountant already audits both Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group, both of which it has done for more than century.

HSBC put its audit out for tender in March shortly after appointing a new head of its internal audit, Manveen Pam Kaur.

Yesterday's award follows hot on the heels of the Competition Commission's decision that auditors of FTSE 350 companies should be forced to compete for their roles every five years. The regulator said the Big Four accountants often had too comfy relationships with managements.

Barclays said in its latest annual report that the board would consider putting its £44m-a-year audit out for tender later this year. PWC will take on the HSBC audit in 2015.

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