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KPMG partners face decimation

By Lawrence Gash

Big Four firm undertakes wide-scale individual performance review

KPMG, one of the Big Four accounting firms, is set to fire one in ten of its partners by December. This is part of a large-scale overhaul to cut costs.

Bill Michael, chairman of KPMG UK, recently informed partners that the firm would scrutinise individual performance more closely in the months to come.

With up to 65 partners facing the axe, this potential one-off cull would be largest single cut of partners in the past decade.

In a statement KPMG said: “It is critical that our firm constantly evolves as we build the mix of capabilities required to service the changing needs of our clients. To achieve this, we are significantly increasing our investment in all our core businesses – audit, tax, deals and consulting.”

The firm has endeavoured to restore its reputation and cut costs after a turbulent few years. KPMG has had to pay around £20m in regulatory fines and saw its reputation further damaged by its audits of collapsed construction firm Carillion.

Its reported profits for 2018 were £58m lower than in 2013 at £356m ($459.7m, €412m). Project Zebra is an effort by the firm to save up to £100m in costs.

Thus far 210 personal assistants have been made redundant. Average pay per partner is expected to fall by 10 per cent and KPMG’s Mayfair private members club could close.

The company has sold and leased back its UK headquarters in Canary Wharf and sold off its pensions advisory business with 470 employees to a private equity firm.

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