KPMG is a professional service company and one of the Big Four
auditors, along with Deloitte, Ernst & Young (EY), and
Seated in Amstelveen, the Netherlands,
KPMG employs 189,000 people
and has three lines of services: financial audit, tax, and advisory.
Its tax and advisory services are further divided into various service
The name "KPMG" stands for "Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler." It was
chosen when KMG (Klynveld Main Goerdeler) merged with Peat Marwick in
1.1 Early years and mergers
1.2 Recent history
2 Global structure
4 Community involvement and advocacy
6.3 2017 South African corruption scandal
6.4 Tax shelter fraud
9 See also
11 External links
Early years and mergers
KPMG head office in Amstelveen, The Netherlands
15 Canada Square in Canary Wharf, London. The headquarters of
Peat Marwick logo
KPMG LLP, the United States-based member firm of KPMG
International, at 345 Park Avenue, New York City
KPMG Tower on De Maisonneuve Boulevard in Montreal
KPMG Tower at 355 South Grand Avenue in Los Angeles
KPMG offices at 150 West Jefferson in Detroit
KPMG at the Bay Adelaide West tower in Toronto
The organization's history spanned three centuries. In 1818 John
Moxham opened a company in Bristol. James Grace and James Grace Jr.
bought John Moaxham & Co. and renamed it James Grace & Son in
1857. In 1861 Henry Grace joined James Jr. and the company was
renamed James & Henry Grace.
William Barclay Peat
William Barclay Peat joined Robert
Fletcher & Co. in London at 17 and became head of the firm in
William Barclay Peat
William Barclay Peat & Co. by then. In 1877
Thomson McLintock founded Thomson McLintock & Co in Glasgow. In
1897 Marwick Mitchell & Co. was founded by
James Marwick and Roger
Mitchell in New York City. In 1899 Ferdinand William LaFrentz founded
Audit Co., in New York.
On the other side of the Atlantic, in about 1913, Frank Wilber Main
founded Main & Co. in Pittsburgh. In March 1917 Piet Klijnveld
and Jaap Kraayenhof opened an accounting firm called Klynveld
Kraayenhof & Co. in Amsterdam. In 1920 Philipp Derbyshire &
Gerald Todd became partners in James & Henry Grace and it was
renamed to Grace, Darbyshire, & Todd.
In 1923 The American
Audit Company was renamed FW LaFrentz &
Co. In 1925
William Barclay Peat
William Barclay Peat & Co. and Marwick Mitchell
& Co., merged to form Peat Marwick Mitchell & Company (later
known simply as Peat Marwick).
In 1963 Main LaFrentz & Co was formed by the merger of Main &
Co and FW LaFrentz & Co. In 1967 Grace, Darbyshire, & Todd
merged with CJ Ryland & Co to form Grace, Ryland & Co. In
1969 Thomson McLintock and Main LaFrentz merged forming McLintock Main
LaFrentz International  and McLintock Main LaFrentz International
absorbed the general practice of Grace, Ryland & Co.
In 1979 Klynveld Kraayenhof & Co. (Netherlands), McLintock Main
LaFrentz (United Kingdom / United States) and Deutsche
Treuhandgesellschaft (Germany) formed KMG (Klynveld Main Goerdeler) as
a grouping of independent national practices to create a strong
European-based international firm. In the United States, Main
Lafrentz & Co. merged with Hurdman and Cranstoun to form Main
Hurdman & Cranstoun.
Then in 1987 KMG and Peat Marwick joined forces in the first
mega-merger of large accounting firms and formed a firm called
the US, and most of the rest of the world, and Peat Marwick McLintock
in the UK.
In the Netherlands, as a consequence of the merger between PMI and KMG
in 1988, PMI tax advisors joined Meijburg & Co. (The tax advisory
agency Meijburg & Co. was founded by Willem Meijburg, Inspector of
National Taxes, in 1939). Today, the
Netherlands is the only country
with two members of
Audit (accountants) and
Meijburg & Co (tax consultants).
In 1990 the two firms settled on the common name of
KPMG Peat Marwick
McLintock but in 1991 the firm was renamed
KPMG Peat Marwick, and in
1999 the name was reduced again to KPMG.
In October 1997,
KPMG and Ernst & Young announced that they were
to merge. However, while the merger to form
PricewaterhouseCoopers was granted regulatory approval, the KPMG/Ernst
& Young tie-up was later abandoned.
KPMG building in Kamloops, British Columbia
KPMG divested its U.S. consulting firm through an initial
public offering of
Consulting Inc, which is now called
BearingPoint, Inc. In early 2009,
BearingPoint filed for Chapter
11 bankruptcy protection.
The UK and Dutch consulting arms were sold to
Atos Origin in 2002.
KPMG divested itself of its legal arm, Klegal and
sold its Dispute Advisory Services to FTI Consulting.
KPMG's member firms in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland and
Liechtenstein merged to form
KPMG Europe LLP in October 2007. These
member firms were followed by Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands,
Luxembourg, CIS (Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan,
Kazakhstan, Armenia and Georgia), Turkey, Norway, and Saudi
Arabia. They appointed joint Chairmen, John Griffith-Jones and
KPMG firm is an independent legal entity and is a member
KPMG International Cooperative, a Swiss entity registered in the
Swiss Canton of Zug.
KPMG International changed its legal structure
Swiss Verein to a co-operative under Swiss law in 2003.
This structure in which the
Cooperative provides support services only
to the member firms is similar to other professional services
networks. The member firms provide the services to client. The purpose
is to limit the liability of each independent member.
Michael Andrew, previously chairman of
KPMG in Australia, assumed the
global chairmanship in September 2011 and is based in Hong Kong. This
is the first time a Big Four accounting organisation has had its
global leader based in Asia Pacific. On 27 February 2014 it was
announced that Michael Andrew was retiring as chairman due to illness
 and that he would be succeeded by John B. Veihmeyer, a role
he will perform alongside continuing as chairman and chief executive
officer of KPMG’s U.S. firm. Veihmeyer is based in New York City.
KPMG is registered as a multidisciplinary entity which also provides
KPMG is organised into the following three service lines (the 2016
revenue shares are listed in parentheses):
Tax arrangements relating to tax avoidance and multinational
corporations and Luxembourg which were negotiated by
public in 2014 in the so-called Luxembourg Leaks.
Community involvement and advocacy
In March 2017
KPMG launched a campaign designed to encourage more
women to pursue careers in technology-based professions.
The US branch of
KPMG was rated one of the top 10 companies for
working mothers. It was also ranked No. 12 on Fortune Magazine's
2017 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For, voted for by
KPMG was the preferred employer among the Big Four accounting firms
according to CollegeGrad.com. It was also ranked No. 4 on the list
of "50 Best Places to Launch a Career" in 2009 according to
KPMG in the UK was named the best big company to work for by
The Times. This was the fourth consecutive year that
KPMG had made the
In 2009, in the UK,
KPMG introduced a programme known as 'Flexible
Futures'. This allowed staff to volunteer to give the firm the option
to either send them on a sabbatical at 30% pay for up to 12 weeks, or
to reduce their working hours to 4 days a week. The option remained
open to the firm until October 2010. This facility has been invoked by
the firm in some departments.
KPMG publicised this as innovative and
an alternative approach to redundancies.
In October 2010, for the eighth year in a row,
KPMG was named one of
"Canada's Top 100 Employers" by Mediacorp Canada Inc., and was
Maclean's news magazine. In November 2010,
KPMG was also
named one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers, which was announced by
Toronto Star newspaper.
It was reported in early 2012 that
KPMG has about 11,000 staff in the
UK and 9,000 in mainland China and Hong Kong. KPMG's global deputy
chairman predicted that headcount in China would overtake that of the
UK by the end of 2013.
KPMG's Innovation Lab is based out of a WeWork in New York City.
KPMG agreed to pay $125 million and $75 million to settle
lawsuits stemming from the firm's audits of
Rite Aid and Oxford Health
Plans Inc., respectively.
KPMG agreed to pay $115 million to settle lawsuits stemming
from the collapse of software company Lernout & Hauspie Speech
Fannie Mae sued
KPMG for malpractice for approving years of
erroneous financial statements.
In February 2007,
KPMG Germany was investigated for ignoring
questionable payments in the
Siemens bribery case. In November
Siemens Supervisory Board recommended changing auditors from
KPMG to Ernst & Young.
In March 2008,
KPMG was accused of enabling "improper and imprudent
practices" at New Century Financial, a failed mortgage company,
KPMG agreed to pay $80 million to settle suits from Xerox
shareholders over manipulated earnings reports.
It was announced in December 2008 that two of Tremont Group’s Rye
Select funds, audited by KPMG, had $2.37 billion invested with the
Madoff "Ponzi scheme." Class action suits were filed.
In August 2010, it was reported by the Swedish Financial Supervisory
Authority to the Swedish accountancy regulator after HQ Bank was
forced into involuntary liquidation after the Financial Supervisory
Authority revoked all its licences for breach of banking
In August 2011,
KPMG conducted due diligence work on Hewlett Packard's
$11.1 billion acquisition of the British software company Autonomy. In
November 2012 HP announced an $8.8 billion write off due to "serious
accounting improprieties" committed by Autonomy management prior to
According to an independent panel formed to investigate irregular
payments made by Olympus which reported in December 2011, KPMG's
affiliate in Japan did not identify fraud at the company.
In April 2013, Scott London, a former
KPMG LLP partner in charge of
KPMG's US Los Angeles-based Pacific Southwest audit practice, admitted
passing on stock tips about clients, including Herbalife (HLF.N),
Skechers (SKX.N), and other companies, to his friend Bryan Shaw, a
California jewelry-store owner. In return Shaw gave London $60,000 as
well as gifts that included a $12,000 Rolex watch. On 6 May Shaw
agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities
fraud. He also agreed to pay around $1.3 million in restitution, and
to cooperate with the government as part of a plea deal with federal
prosecutors. This scandal led
KPMG to resign as auditor for two
KPMG was accused by the
Canada Revenue Agency
Canada Revenue Agency of tax evasion
schemes: "The CRA alleges that the
KPMG tax structure was in reality a
'sham' that intended to deceive the taxman."
In 2016, the
Canada Revenue Agency
Canada Revenue Agency was found to have offered an
KPMG clients caught using an offshore tax-avoidance scheme
on the Isle of Man.
KPMG terminated five partners in its audit practice,
including the head of its audit practice in the US, after an
investigation of advanced confidential knowledge of planned audit
inspections by its Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.
This followed criticism about KPMG's failure to uncover illegal sales
Wells Fargo or potential corruption at FIFA, the
governing international body of soccer. It was reported in 2017
KPMG had the highest number of deficiencies, among the Big Four,
cited by its regulator in the previous two years.
KPMG paid a $6.2 million fine to the US Securities and
Exchange Commission for inadequacies in its audit of the financial
statements of oil and gas company, Miller Energy Resources.
In November 2017, 91 partners of
KPMG faced contempt proceedings in
Hong Kong High Court, as
China Medical Technologies
China Medical Technologies (CMED) liquidators
investigating a $400 million fraud took action against
regard to its refusal honor a February 2016 court order to produce
Chinese working papers, correspondence, and records to the
liquidators. The liquidators are asking that 91
defendants be held in contempt of court, which could result in
criminal penalties, or weekly fines.
KPMG had issued written audit
reports for CMED from 2003 to 2008, and was replaced by
PwC Zhong Tian
in August 2009. “Perhaps locking up 91
KPMG partners over
Christmas may spur the firms to find a solution to this problem”,
said Professor Paul Gillis of Peking University’s Guanghua School of
In January 2018 it was announced that KPMG, auditor of collapsed UK
construction firm Carillion, would have its role examined by the
Financial Reporting Council, and it was summoned to give evidence
before two House of Commons select committees on 22 February 2018.
On 13 February 2018, the 'Big 4' accountancy firms, including KPMG,
were described by MP Frank Field as "feasting on what was soon to
become a carcass" after collecting fees of £72m for
during the years leading up to its collapse.
KPMG was singled out
for particular criticism for signing off Carillion's last accounts
before a profit warning in July 2017: "Either
KPMG failed to spot the
warning signs, or its judgement was clouded by its cosy relationship
with the company and the multimillion-pound fees it received," said MP
Rachel Reeves. Two out of three former
Carillion finance directors
had also worked for KPMG.
KPMG defended itself, saying that in the construction industry "an
accumulation of adverse events [...] can quite quickly cause a
KPMG chairman and senior partner Bill Michael
said: "It does not follow automatically from a company collapse either
that the opinion of management was wrong, or that the auditor did a
On 22 February 2018, MPs contested evidence from
KPMG (in one exchange
MP Peter Kyle told
KPMG partner Peter Meehan: "I would not hire you to
do an audit of the contents of my fridge"). Rachel Reeves, chair
of the business select committee, said:
"Auditing is a multi-million-pound business for the Big Four. On this
morning's evidence from
KPMG and Deloitte, these audits appear to be a
colossal waste of time and money, fit only to provide false assurance
to investors, workers and the public. [...]
Carillion staff and
investors could see the problems at the company but those responsible
- auditors, regulators, and, ultimately, the directors – did nothing
Carillion being driven off a cliff."
2017 South African corruption scandal
Gupta family § Uranium interests, Nhlanhla Nene,
Pravin Gordhan and KPMG
KPMG was embroiled in related scandals involving the Gupta
family. KPMG, whose history in South Africa dated back to 1895,
and which had been part of the international organization since its
founding in 1979, faced calls for closure, and an uncertain
future, as a consequence of the damage done to the South African
economy as a result of its activities.
KPMG had been working with a
Gupta family company in the mining
sector, Oakbay Resources and Energy, for 15 years prior to the
revelations of corruption and collusion in 2016, at which point KPMG
resigned. The full impact and financial profit that
KPMG received is
yet to be determined; however, at least one large company has
terminated its services with
KPMG due to its relationship with
In July 2017, after controversial documents were leaked by the
amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism, former chief
KPMG South Africa and the former partner that was
responsible for audits related to the Gupta family, Moses Kgosana,
withdrew from becoming the chairman of Alexander Forbes, a financial
KPMG issued a controversial report that implicated former
Pravin Gordhan in the creation of an illegal
intelligence gathering unit of the South African Revenue Service
(SARS). This report was seen by elements of the media to be part of a
wider Gupta-linked state capture conspiracy, with the aim of forcing
Gordhan out of his post. The report was withdrawn by
September 2017, earning the ire of the Commissioner of SARS, Tom
After an internal investigation that found work done for the Gupta
family fell “considerably short” of the firm’s standards and
amid rising political and public backlash, KPMG's senior leadership in
South Africa, including its chairman Ahmed Jaffer, CEO Trevor Hoole,
COO Steven Louw, and five partners, resigned in September
Save South Africa, a civil-society group, accused
KPMG and UK PR firm
Bell Pottinger of playing a "central role in facilitating state
capture." Numerous South African companies either fired
the immediate aftermath of the scandal, or were reconsidering their
relationships with the firm  with the international chairman of
KPMG, John Veihmeyer, apologising for the conduct of the South African
arm and the firm pledged to donate fees earned from Gupta
businesses, as well as the withdrawn SARS report to anti-corruption
Tax shelter fraud
KPMG tax shelter fraud
In 2003, the IRS issued summonses to
KPMG for information about
certain tax shelters and their investors. In February 2004, the US
Justice Department commenced a criminal inquiry. The United States
KPMG LLP, was accused by the United States Department of
Justice of fraud in marketing abusive tax shelters.
KPMG fired or
forced the retirement of over a dozen who were involved.
admitted criminal wrongdoing in creating fraudulent tax shelters to
help wealthy clients avoid $2.5 billion in taxes between 1996 and
2002, and agreed to pay $456 million in penalties to avoid indictment.
Under the deferred prosecution agreement,
KPMG LLP would not face
criminal prosecution if it complied with the terms of its agreement
with the government. On 3 January 2007, the criminal conspiracy
KPMG were dropped.
KPMG Europe headquarters in the Squaire building at Frankfurt Airport
The Swedish member firm was main sponsor for Swedish biathlete
Magdalena Forsberg, six-time world champion and two-time Olympic
medalist. Forsberg was working as a tax consultant at the KPMG
Sundsvall office parallel to her athletic career.
Phil Mickelson wearing
In February 2008, Phil Mickelson, ranked one of the best golfers in
the world, signed a three-year global sponsorship deal with KPMG. As
part of the agreement, Mickelson was to wear the
KPMG logo on his
headwear during all golf related appearances.
The Canadian member firm sponsored Alexandre Bilodeau, who won the
first gold medal for Canada on home soil in the 2010 Vancouver
Olympics. Alexandre's father is a tax partner in the Montreal
KPMG and McLaren Technology Group have formed a strategic alliance to
apply McLaren Applied Technologies’ (MAT) predictive analytics and
technology to KPMG’s audit and advisory services. McLaren 2015
Formula 1 car has the
KPMG logo engraved above the pilot seat.
No.2 in the 2011 World's Best
Outsourcing Advisors – in recognition
of the firm's depth of experience, global reach and holistic
Inducted into Working Mother Hall of Fame after being honored for 15
years as one of Working Mother magazine's 100 Best Companies for
International Tax Review Asia Tax Awards, 2008–2010 – in
recognition of the accomplishments of KPMG's Tax Services and Global
Transfer Pricing Services team.
KPMG China was awarded the 2010 Hong
Kong Tax Firm of the Year and the 2010 China Transfer Pricing Firm of
the Year at the International Tax Review's 2010 Asia Tax Awards
ceremony in Singapore on 23 November 2010. KPMG's global
transfer pricing services in China and Hong Kong is headed by Chi
Top 2 overall in Consultancy Rankings 2009 by OpRisk & Compliance
– in recognition of KPMG's experience in risk management.
World's most attractive employers, 2010 – First of the Big
KPMG Leads all the Big Four professional services giant firms (namely
Deloitte, PWC and Ernst & Young) on Fortune list of 100 best
companies to work for.
Ranked number 13 in
Consulting Magazine's Best Firms to Work for
KPMG, along with PwC, Deloitte, and PA
Consulting Group, were among
the UK's 25 top companies to work for in 2017.
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