EY’s split will be copied, says top executive

EY’s split will be copied, says top executive

A top EY official told a Reuters Breakingviews podcast that the EY's separation will help pay rising technology bills and will inevitably be copied by rival Big Four firms.

Andy Baldwin, global managing partner, said EY was holding roadshows to explain the company's third attempt to split into two if partners around the world give their backing during the first quarter of next year.

The company's split would mark the biggest shake-up in the sector since the collapse of Arthur Andersen in 2002, and the big five of PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY, formerly Ernst Young.

Baldwin said that it was an appropriate time to dust down the work we did before.

I feel it's inevitable. There is a first mover advantage, we believe. He said that the competition will have to respond at some point in time. Some of the Big Four firms have said they have no plans to copy EY.

Critics warn that the auditing side could suffer in the shadow of what is traditionally more lucrative consulting work. The split will make it easier to raise capital to invest and create two more agile companies, according to EY.

Baldwin said that we want our assurance business to be as successful in the future as we have been in the last 10 years.

He said that partners' rejection over the substance of the deal would be a problem.

If the deal is turned down because of the timing in the financial markets, it could be voted on again at a later date, given the fundamental drivers of the transaction won't change, Baldwin said.

It may come to timing point, so our plan is to continue to what we call soft separation next year, and continue to start to run these two businesses separately, although they will continue to be part of the single enterprise of EY, Baldwin said.