Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Reputation Risk; City Comment

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Reputation Risk; City Comment

Article excerpt

Byline: ANTHONY HILTON

IT PASSED without notice here, but as of last weekend Andersen, the accountancy firm, ceased to be auditors of publicly-quoted companies in the United States. None of the 1200-plus publicly traded companies it audited when it was convicted of obstructing justice by shredding documents connected with Enron less than seven months ago are still clients.

More than 300 each have gone to Ernst & Young and KPMG, Deloitte & Touche has taken on 260 and 179 have gone to PricewaterhouseCoopers. The balance have still to decide or have opted for a smaller auditing firm.

Of the 28,000 employees Andersen had in the US at the beginning of this year, fewer than 3000 are left today. Henceforth their work will largely consist of fielding lawsuits from disgruntled investors and claims from former partners furious at the way their pensions have been shrunk. This work is likely to last until one of the legal claims is lost in court, at which point the firm is expected finally to fold its tent because there is almost no money left to meet any settlement. …

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