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KPMG ousts senior partner

Aug 19
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KPMG has announced the removal of one of its senior partners following a conduct investigation into messages he sent on WhatsApp. Tim Howarth had worked with the firm for 15 years, and was employed in the role of head of UK financial services consulting; one of the firm’s most valuable divisions.

While the topic of WhatsApp messages was confirmed, KPMG did not talk further about the specific conduct that led to the decision. A spokesperson confirmed that conduct issues were raised and that Mr Howarth had left the firm following an internal investigation and disciplinary panel. The company also noted that Mr Howarth had appealed the decision.

“We hold all of our people to a very high standard and take swift and appropriate action against any individual whose behaviour contravenes the firm’s values,” added the spokesperson.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr Howarth said he was “surprised” by the decision, which he claimed was “bizarre as the decision is under appeal”. He added that he had not been told the reason for the decision, and he had already resigned as a partner at KPMG.

The firm has been in trouble in 2019, being fined £6 million in April over an audit it undertook of Syndicate 218, then another £5 million in May for misconduct in the audit of Co-operative Bank in 2009. It has also had to get rid of two other senior partners: Peter Meehan in January and Sanjay Thakkar in July.

The Financial Reporting Council has announced it will be subjecting KPMG to closer supervision after the firm’s audit of Carillion, which collapsed last year. The firm was in over £1 billion of debt despite being audited by KPMG since 1999.

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