Land Securities replaces auditor after three firms pitch for the job

Marion Dakers
LAND Securities became the latest blue-chip company to switch auditor yesterday after announcing it had hired Ernst & Young.

The property giant said three auditors pitched for the job, which was until yesterday held by PwC, after it was put out to tender earlier this year “in light of emerging best practice”.

Ernst & Young said the win means it audits for a third of the real estate firms by value on the Forbes Global 2000 index. The contract follows EY’s successful bid to take on FTSE 100-listed BG Group’s audit work in October.

PwC, meanwhile, said it accepts that it works “in a fiercely competitive market in which all participants win and lose audits”. The firm earned £700,000 for its work with Land Securities in the last financial year, and a further £100,000 from LS for work linked to joint ventures.

An ongoing Competition Commission probe into the so-called Big Four accountancy firms has put the spotlight on the lengthy relationships between many large companies and their auditors.

A small but growing number of blue-chip corporates are reviewing their audit set-up, including HSBC and Barclays