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Lucrative WPP audit tender to be mulled next year

ADVERTISING GIANT WPP has kept its powder dry and will not commit to running an audit tender next year, despite acknowledging that new regulation is pushing for auditor alternatives to be considered.

In WPP’s 2013 annual report, it outlines its plan to retain Deloitte as its auditor through 2014/15. With the UK Corporate Governance Code looking to align with the regulations outlined by the EU – plus the Competition’s Commission’s guidance on audit tendering – WPP’s audit committee will set out a course of action for a potential audit tender during 2014.

“In view of the uncertainty regarding the form and impact of these regulations, the committee will recommend a course of action to the board during 2014 in respect of the tender of the audit contract,” the audit committee stated in the annual report.

New regulation broadly calls on businesses to tender their audit every ten years. Deloitte has served as auditor since 2002, with the last audit lead partner changing in 2010. WPP’s audit committee chairman is experienced finance chief, and current Essentra CEO, Colin Day (pictured).

The WPP audit is one of the UK’s most lucrative contracts of its kind, with Deloitte picking up £16m for the 31 December year-end, according to the Financial Director 2014 Audit Fees Survey.

In the latest annual report Deloitte picked up £16.5m, with a further £3.1m for other audit services. WPP paid a further £8.5m to firms for non-audit work, including tax and corporate finance services.

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