BDO, the UK’s sixth-largest audit firm, has hugely extended its lead as the UK’s top auditor of mid-size, Alternative Investment Market (Aim)-listed firms – more than quadrupling the gap between it and second-placed KPMG in the past half a year.
New data from Adviser Rankings shows BDO now has 149 Aim-listed clients, 23 more than KPMG. Two quarters ago, the gap was just five clients.
BDO now matches Big Four firm EY for for FTSE AIM 100 clients, with 11 apiece, and has narrowly taken second place by market cap, knocking KPMG from the spot. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) pulled away at the top as the auditor with the highest total Aim client market cap.
Scott Knight, head of audit at BDO, said: “We are delighted to have further stretched our lead in advising AIM-listed companies. Being number one auditor and reporting accountants on AIM is really important to us. ”
“This is our client heartland – Aim companies and companies that aspire to grow by access to markets like Aim – ambitious, entrepreneurially-spirited mid-sized businesses which are the UK’s economic engine,” he added.
The UK’s audit market is currently under heavy scrutiny, including an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into how competition can be improved to loosen the market stronghold of Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC – audit’s Big Four – who collectively audit 97 per cent of FTSE 350 firms.
Adviser Rankings noted that though the sector had been widely anticipating a review, “the eventual parameters of the CMA’s investigation will be critical” to predicting its effects.
BDO grabbed fifth place by securing the audit tender for driller Amerisur Resources, which controls assets in Colombia and Paraguay. Petroleum has long been a strong point for BDO: it has a 9 client lead over the next-biggest firm in the Aim’s oil and gas sector.
Knight said: “Aim has proved to be exceptionally resilient in the face of various economic and geopolitical headwinds in recent years. It clearly demonstrates the real need for a vibrant junior capital market that connects external capital and entrepreneurial spirit.”
Earlier this month, BDO released annual results which showed an underlying revenue of £464.1m – an increase of 8.5 per cent. Its profits rose by 19.7 per cent to £109.4m, which the firm said allowed it to invest in tech and recruitment.