Big Four accountancy firm EY is shifting its legal entity from London to Brussels as it braces for the UK’s exit from the European Union.
The move will form a new legal umbrella entity, EY Europe SCRL, which will manage around 40 firms across the continent.
EY said there would be no changes in leadership or relocation of employees as a result of the move.
Ernst & Young Europe LLP, the UK-domiciled holding entity which will be replaced, was first set-up in 2008. Its latest accounts, for 2017, show assets of £556,000, and a profit of £21,000. It does not provide any services, but instead pools voting rights from EY’s European entities.
The shift is a symbolic move that underscores the historically Anglo-American firm’s uncertainty over the UK’s exit from the EU.
The professional services giant said the transference would put it in line with EU regulations, which say an audit firm must licensed by an EU member state in order to control audit firms in other EU member states.
Documents released by the Department for Exiting the European Union last year said there be no mutual recognition of professional qualifications for accountants in the event of a no-deal Brexit, a position which has been echoed by the Irish audit regulator.
Local press reports say the firm has already applied to the Institute of Company Directors in Belgium, which would become EY’s overall supervisor.
“The EY UK member firm, (Ernst & Young LLP, UK) will continue to be controlled by Ernst & Young Europe LLP,” the firm said.