Australia’s largest pension fund said it will not sign any new contracts with PricewaterhouseCoopers, as the consultancy grapples with the fallout from a tax scandal in one of its largest markets.
AustralianSuper, which has nearly 3 million members and A$290 billion ($191 billion) in assets under management, said on Friday it would freeze any new business with the Big Four and review its audit contract later this year.
“AustralianSuper is concerned about the ongoing disclosures about PwC and as a result has frozen any new contracts with PwC,” a spokesperson for the fund said. He added that AustralianSuper had raised these concerns “at the highest level” to PwC last week.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has come under intense public scrutiny over the past month after the release of emails showing it used confidential information about changes to tax laws from the government to win new business.
It suspended nine partners this week pending the outcome of an investigation in September as it moved to mitigate the impact of a scandal affecting its Australian and international operations.
An increasing number of firms in Australia, one of PwC’s largest markets, are reviewing their relationship with the consultant after a breach of confidentiality.
AustralianSuper is the latest organization to place restrictions on PricewaterhouseCoopers following the scandal. The Reserve Bank of Australia said on Wednesday that it would not award new business to the company pending the outcome of the review. Treasury officials also said the ethical behavior of consultants should be taken into account when purchasing new contracts.
AustralianSuper, which is part-owned by the Australian Council of Trade Unions, said it spent more than A$2 million with PwC last year.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers management will appear before the Canberra Senate next week to answer questions about the scandal. The company is expected to come under further pressure to disclose the names of partners involved in the use of confidential information and any clients who have benefited from tax advice.
The government, which has referred the matter to the police for consideration of the criminal case, said it was the responsibility of PricewaterhouseCoopers to convince it that an internal review of the company and the resignation of any partners involved in the scandal was sufficient compensation to resume work with it. Public sector.