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KPMG and PwC consider move into credit rating

ACCOUNTANTS KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers have considered entering the credit rating business as the established players come under fire for failing to pre-empt the financial crisis.

In the aftermath of the recession, which saw high-profile companies such as retail investor Baugur go bankrupt, KPMG said auditors should provide forward-looking assessments of a business’ risks as well as backward-looking reviews of its numbers. This would be a step towards the credit rating process, chairman John Griffith Jones said in an interview with the Financial Times.

He said: “It is something that we talk about as a plausible thing to do. It is effectively something we would be proficient at doing… but it’s not on the agenda at the moment.”

PwC head of UK assurance David Sexton also said there was potential for auditors to begin offering credit rating services.

The news comes as the big three credit rating agencies – Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch – take increasing criticism for their complicity in the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. Last week the US Senate voted to tighten regulation of the agencies.