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KPMG HQ, 15 Canada Square - next to banks HSBC and Barclays

KPMG is one of the world's largest professional services networks and is considered one of the 'Big Four' accountancy firms. In the UK it has over 12,000 partners and staff working in 22 offices across the country.[1]

KPMG, 8 Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8BB (just off Fleet Street and next to The Office of Fair Trading)

Just four accountancy firms – PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte & Touche and Ernst & Young – audit 97 per cent of FTSE 350 companies[2] and around 99 per cent of the London Stock Exchange's FTSE 100. [3]

Globally, KPMG operates in 155 countries and has 162,000 professionals working in member firms.

Controversies and conflicts of interest

Secondments to the UK Treasury

In 2013 a report by the influential UK Commons public accounts committee (PAC) found that the Big Four were using knowledge gained from staff seconded to the Treasury "to help wealthy clients avoid paying UK taxes". The firms, it said, went on to "advise multinationals and individuals on how to exploit loopholes around legislation they had helped to write".

PAC committee chair and former Labour minister Margaret Hodge said the accountancy firms' actions represented a "ridiculous conflict of interest". She called for the Treasury to stop accepting their staff to draw up new tax laws. "The large accountancy firms are in a powerful position in the tax world and have an unhealthily cosy relationship with government," she said.[4]

According to Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation, "Conflicts of interest are built into the very DNA of the big professional services firms. These companies are working with firms that need to be regulated and the government bodies that are regulating".

'Contributions' to parties

During the UK Coalition government the 'big four' firms have contributed almost £2.5 million to Britain's three main political parties. As of April 2015, KPMG had contributed £561,763. The contributions are listed as 'non-cash donations', representing the value of staff costs and services (secondments) such as consultancy or advisory and are provided to the party free of charge. Of the £2.5 million from the 'big four', the Labour Party received £1.5 million and the Liberal Democrats received £742,362.

Under the previous Labour government, the Conservative Party received £1.7 million, including roughly £341,000 of KPMG's total of £851,658.[5]

Tax avoidance

The Big Four accountancy firms were behind almost half of all known tax avoidance schemes, the UK's HMRC said in 2006.[6]

Prem Sikka, Professor of Accounting at the University of Essex writes:

"With the aid of accountancy firms, numerous corporate transactions are manufactured for the purpose of avoiding taxes. KPMG has admitted selling "unlawful" tax avoidance schemes that effectively deprived US public funds of billions of dollars. The firm has been fined nearly $500m as a result. Several of its ex-partners face the prospect of criminal prosecutions.
"The same firms also peddle a range of avoidance schemes in the UK, which are estimated to cost the state £100bn each year in possible tax revenues. KPMG developed a VAT avoidance scheme for a company operating 127 amusement arcades in the UK... The scheme increased the firm's earnings by about £4.2m - about the amount needed to provide 2,500 NHS hip replacements. The ensuing court hearing learned that, in common with its US practices, KPMG cold-called the amusement arcade operator to sell the scheme. The firm produced a 16-page booklet that listed 83 detailed steps necessary to make it work. The firm suspected that Customs might regard the scheme as "unacceptable tax avoidance", but nevertheless sold it. Following a UK court defeat, KPMG and its client took the case to the European court of justice. A preliminary decision by the EU advocate-general has declared the scheme to be "unacceptable"."[7] [8][9]

Representation in the European Commission

Georges Bock, managing partner of KPMG Luxembourg, and Gérard Laures, partner at KPMG Luxembourg, represent The Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry and Kevin Charlton, tax director at KPMG, represents The Alternative Investment Management Association on the European Commission's Expert Group on automatic exchange of financial account information. The aim of the group is to assist the EU member states on tax laws and collecting the full amount of tax owed to them.[10]

Political donations and hospitality

In 2010 KPMG ranked equal first with PwC in the top ten companies providing hospitality to senior UK civil servants: both did so on 72 occasions.[11]

Healthcare and privatisation of NHS

In 2015 NHS England announced a new list of approved suppliers to the NHS. The list is dominated by outsourcing giants Capita; management consultancies PwC and KPMG; and US health insurer UnitedHealth. NHS England insists the companies who are bidding for contracts to supply support services to the GP-led commission groups will supply a range of back office functions, cutting procurement times and allowing doctors to focus on how best to spend their £70bn share of the NHS budget.' All of the firms are members of the Commissioning Support Industry Group, a 'low-profile body that affords them regular access to the senior NHS officials overseeing the creation of the new market in commissioning services.' Other members of the Group include management firms Ernst and Young and McKinsey who have also been awarded prominent roles.[12]

Revolving door

Jacqui Smith, former Labour home secretary became a consultant in October 2010, six months after leaving politics, a position that was cleared by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments. She held this until June 2011. [13] According to the Daily Mail, KPMG had "won an important government contract while Smith was Home Secretary when it was commissioned to carry out a major study into whether drink industry giants were breaking guidelines on the sale of alcohol". [14] Smith has been chair of public affairs at lobbying firm Westbourne Communications since 2015.


FrackWell.png This article is part of the Spinwatch Fracking Portal and project

In 2013 KPMG produced the report 'Shale Gas - A Global Perspective' and also sponsored the KPMG UK Shale Gas Summit in Canary Wharf, London.

In February 2016 it emerged that the Scottish National Party government had given a contract to KPMG to carry out research into the economic impacts of shale gas, following a competitive tender process. Scotland has had a moratorium on shale gas exploration since 2015; the results of this research were due after the Scottish elections. [15]

KPMG published this report in November 2016. Entitled, the 'Economic Impact Assessment and Scenario Development of Unconventional Oil and Gas' it revealed that,'If oil and gas prices were to remain at historically low levels, it would be unlikely that unconventional oil and gas resources could be developed economically.'

Full summary of the report:

'The aim of this project was to better understand the potential aggregate impact of unconventional oil and gas development on the Scottish economy under a range of scenarios and consider key sectors and groups that are likely to be affected by each scenario. Three potential production scenarios were developed by undertaking a study of the existing evidence base, including estimates of potential UOG resources, and through discussions with stakeholders and by making number of assumptions including that each scenario was developed on the basis that exploration is successful. In the mid-range scenario it is estimated that the development of 20 well pads of 15 wells each could produce a cumulative 947 billion cubic feet of gas and 17.8 million barrels of associated liquids over the lifecycle to 2062. This could lead to direct expenditure of £2.2 billion in Scotland over the period, which could give supply chain benefits and other induced economic benefits of an additional £1.2 billion over the period and be responsible for the creation of up to 1,400 jobs at its peak in the Scottish economy. While not quantified in the study, the report highlighted a number of other potential economic considerations, including the use of gas as feedstock in the petrochemical industry, the impact on local house prices, road use, agriculture, visual amenity, environmental costs and health costs.' [16]

Lobbying firms


In 2011 KPMG won The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) award for Accountancy Team of the Year. [19]



  • Simon Collins, chairman and senior partner
  • Simon Virley, partner, head of energy deal advisory team. Virley had previously worked for the firm on secondment from HM Treasury 2005-08, and joined KPMG again in February 2015 from DECC.
  • Jim Marsh, chief operating officer and head of people


Revolving door

Ministerial connections and consultants

  • Charles Clarke. The former home secretary was employed by KPMG in 2008 on a one year contract to advise on 'public service reforms'.[28]
  • Jacqui Smith. The former home secretary began working as a consultant to KPMG in 2010.[29] Is currently chair of public affairs practice at lobbyists Westbourne Communications.[30]


Register of consultant lobbyists

The register of consultant lobbyists documents those clients on behalf of whom KPMG has met with government ministers. Their listings since registering in June 2015 are as follows:

January - March 2016

Coleman Bennett International Consultancy Plc [31]


See: The Corporate Capture of the NHS


Main London offices:

8 Salisbury Square
London, EC4Y 8BB

15 Canada Square
London, E14 5GL


  1. KPMG websiteWho We Are, UK, accessed April 2010,
  2. Prem Sikka, Called to account, The Guardian, 14 December 2008
  3. Prem Sikka, Auditors must be held to account, The Guardian, 31 May 2012
  4. Rajeev Syal, Simon Bowers and Patrick Wintour, firms 'use knowledge of Treasury to help rich avoid tax' – MPs The Guardian, Friday 26 April 2013, acc 12 June 2013
  5. Carlos Martin Tornero Labour to win, if Big Four donation patterns become self-fulfilling prophecy The Accountant, 5 May 2015, accessed 18 May 2015.
  6. Gilt-edged profits for profession's 'big four', Guardian, 7 February 2009
  7. Prem Sikka, Accountants: a threat to democracy, Guardian, 5 September 2005
  8. For more on KPMG and tax avoidance see: Sheltering cash: the intricate schemes drawn up by KPMG.
  9. The Tax Gap, Sheltering cash: the intricate schemes drawn up by KPMG, Guardian, 7 February 2009
    The Tax Gap, series of articles on tax avoidance, The Tax Gap, Guardian, 2009
  10. European Commission Commission Expert Group on automatic exchange of financial account information, accessed 4 May 2015.
  11. Bureau for Investigative Journalism, Top ten:Companies, 10 June 2013
  12. Jamie Doward Fears grow over ‘land grab’ of NHS by private suppliers Guardian, 2 May 2015, accessed 4 May 2015.
  13. Jacqui Smith, LinkedIn profile, acc 11 June 2013
  14. Geoffrey Levy, Tony's cronies and snouts in the trough: How one-time Labour bigwigs are raking it in thanks to the private sector, 10 June 2011, acc 28 Sept 2011
  15. Paul Hutcheon, SNP Government walks into row by announcing research into fracking, 9 February 2016, accessed same day
  16. Unconventional oil and gas research published, Wired Gov, 09 November 2016. Accessed 15 December 2016.
  17. Register 1st December 2014 - 28th February 2015 APPC, accessed 9 March 2015
  18. APPG Register May 2012
  19. STEP Private Client Awards: Winners for 2011/12, acc 26 Sept 2011
  20. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ITM
  21. Linkedin Andy Lister, accessed 15 June 2015.
  22. Linkedin Anthony Lobo, accessed 15 June 2015.
  23. Linkedin Emma Wild, accessed 15 June 2015.
  24. Gov.UK Tax Professionals Forum, accessed 15 June 2015.
  25. Linkedin Chris Davidson, accessed 15 June 2015.
  26. Linkedin Paul Kirby, accessed 15 June 2015.
  27. Linkedin Paul Harrison, accessed 15 June 2015.
  28. Penny Sukhraj KPMG hires former home secretary, Charles Clarke, Accountancy Age, 11 April 2008, accessed 15 June 2015.
  29. Richard Eden Jacqui Smith wins lucrative jobs with Labour's friends Telegraph, 31 October 2010, accessed 15 June 2015.
  30. Linkedin Jacqui Smith, accessed 15 June 2015.
  31. KPMG profile 2016, Registrar of consultant lobbyists, accessed 3 May 2016