Jessica Fino 31 Aug 2017 11:48am

KPMG puts London headquarters up for sale

KPMG is selling its London headquarters in Canary Wharf in a deal that could raise the Big Four firm £400m

The firm appointed has Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) to find a buyer for 15 Canada Square in Canary Wharf. However, KPMG said it would continue to occupy the building after the sale by leasing it back on a long-term lease.

The 434,261 sq ft building has 14 floors and has been solely occupied by KPMG since 2010, when the firm bought it for £340m.

Philip Davidson, managing partner at KPMG, said, “We are seeing strong demand from investors for prime London assets and we want to capitalise on this rising market.

“Ownership of property is not core to our business and this move reflects our wider strategy: we lease buildings in 22 locations across the UK, keeping our capital free to invest in our business and facilities. As a firm we are making considerable investments developing technologies to provide new services and solutions to our clients, while enhancing traditional processes like audit. This transaction will accelerate that ambition.”

Davidson said the firm does not plan to leave London and is “committed to a long-term future in the city”.

Andrew Hawkins, international director and head of the city capital markets team at JLL, said the sale of the iconic building was proof that London remains a critical hub for global business and foreign investment.

“The city's strengths are underpinned by business friendly regulation, a robust legal system and a transparent investment environment, making it an attractive place for domestic and international investors alike,” he added.

In its annual results last year, the firm saw its profits fall by 2% due to new investments, while and its average partner pay was reduced from £623,000 to £582,000.

KPMG said at the time that its profits were hit by investments "made to adapt to the market".