Listed investment platform AJ Bell is set to change auditors in 2025, replacing BDO with a return to a Big Four auditor
AJ Bell has confirmed that the board has approved the appointment of PwC as the company’s auditor for the financial year ending 30 September 2025, subject to a shareholder vote.
BDO LLP will complete the audit for the year ending 30 September 2024. The mid-tier firm has been auditor for four years and was appointed in 2020, replacing KPMG.
In total, BDO earned £1.09m for the audit and related services for year end 2023, up from £496,000 the previous year due to an additional charge of £215,000 for FY2022.
The decision to change auditor was taken in 2023 and was designed to coincide with the rotation of the current lead audit partner at BDO.
A competitive tender process was led by the company’s audit committee and involved a shortlist of three firms.
The 2023 annual report detailed the audit tender process, which was designed to be ‘transparent, effective and efficient in order to provide participating firms an equal opportunity to tender for the provision of their services’.
Prior to the tender, the three potential audit firms were given equal opportunity to meet with key members of senior management and the finance team to ensure they had a good understanding of the business. The audit committee also reviewed the FRC’s Audit Quality Inspection reports on each firm and consideration of their experience of the firms in recent engagements.
Following a comprehensive review and a series of follow up discussions with the two strongest candidates, the committee concluded that PwC had a strong team proposition, good knowledge of AJ Bell’s business and the sector’s key risks, significant audit expertise within the sector, a good reputation and other features which demonstrated their commitment to providing a high-quality, focused audit.
The audit committee will oversee the implementation of a detailed transition plan.