Myners: risk from big four

LORD Myners yesterday told a parliamentary committee that the concentration of auditing services among the “big four” accounting firms represents a systemic risk.

Appearing before the House of Lords’ Economic Affairs Committee, the former City minister said that successive mergers had led to firms not having enough alternatives to Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG when it comes to auditing.

He also came under fire for what one committee member called “Delphic nods and winks” given to auditors on the subject of bank bailouts.

The lords asked Myners whether he had given reassurances that the government would step in so that auditors could to sign off on banks’ accounts.

Myners said: “It was not my task to give them comfort.”