HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s largest bank, appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as auditor, dropping KPMG LLP after more than two decades.
PwC will audit the 2015 fiscal year for the lender, subject to approval from shareholders at the bank’s annual meeting in May, HSBC said in a statement today.
KPMG won the business in 1991 without going through a bidding process, the lender said in its annual report in March. HSBC paid the accounting firm $80.5 million in 2012 for work including audit, tax compliance, computer security and help valuing assets.
British antitrust regulators said last month large companies should be required to put their auditing contract out to tender every five years to boost competition in the industry.
Auditors have been criticized for not spotting practices that led to the financial crisis of 2008. The House of Lords’ Economic Affairs Committee said in a 2011 report said there had been “grave defects in the auditing of banks.”