EY’s Israeli business will not participate in the accounting firm’s global split, but will instead retain its current structure under which auditors and consultants work together under a single umbrella.
The Israeli firm’s managing partner Doron Sharabany told the Financial Times the firm does not see the benefits of EY’s separation plans. “From our point of view in the Israel business, the split will not create benefits,” Sharabany said.
The Israeli segment’s rejection of the separation plans come after EY’s Greater China business in September opted out of the global split, citing the “business environment and development stage” in which the east Asian business operates.
However, the Israeli segment, which is currently one of EY’s largest businesses by revenue, is by far the largest of the Big Four accounting firm’s country units to have pulled out of the global split plans.
EY had planned for the top 70-75 of its more than 150 country units to take part in its plans to separate its audit and advisory divisions, in a bid to distance itself from the conflicts-of-interest problems that have plagued the accounting sector for years.
An EY spokesperson told City A.M. the firm continues “to anticipate approximately 75 countries will participate in the deal,” without specifying which countries will participate.
The firm previously said it would not practical to separate its smallest country businesses into separate audit and advisory firms.
In order to go ahead, EY’s separation plans require the approval of regulators and local partners within each of the local firms involved.
Any firm that rejects the split will retain EY’s current structure, but could in turn face competition from EY’s new independent advisory business.
In being free from the conflict-of-interest rules that prevent them from working with audit clients, the independent advisory businesses are set to have an advantage over those under the old structure, in having access to previously off-limit customers.
EY failed to comment further.