Danny McCance 3 Jul 2019 10:48am

KPMG explores sale of pensions practice

The Big Four firm is considering selling its pension advisory business against a backdrop of reform across the accountancy profession

The firm is exploring the sale of the UK pensions advisory unit following numerous “expressions of interest” from other parties.

“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,” a KPMG spokesperson said.

The sale of this part of the firm’s business could total as much as £120m, according to a report from Sky News.

The spokesperson stated that KPMG had “made no firm decisions over any eventual outcomes at this stage”.

It is currently only reviewing the future of the UK pensions practice, so pensions advisory practices in other countries will not be affected.

The spokesperson said this part of its business had “grown significantly into a market leading business in the sector, advising both corporate clients and pensions trustees” in the past few years, adding that it regularly received “unsolicited offers” for the practice.

In the wake of proposals from the Competition and Markets Authority, and from the Kingman Review, the accountancy profession in the UK is under increasingly sharp scrutiny.

The UK’s sixth-largest accountancy firm, Grant Thornton, last week announced that it sold its wealth advisory unit to the financial advice arm of Standard Life Aberdeen, 1825.

The sale was reportedly an attempt by the firm – which has been criticised recently over failings at Patisserie Valerie – to distance itself from potential conflicts of interest.

Last month, KPMG announced that it is making a number of changes to its audit leadership and governance structure to “restore trust” in the wake of a number of high-profile failures.