Firms that are in the business of buying and selling securities, either for their own purposes or on behalf of their clients, are known as broker-dealers. To comply with rules set by the Securities and Exchange Commission, broker-dealers are generally required to have their financial statements audited by an independent accounting firm. The Audit Analytics database makes it easy to identify which accounting firms are providing these audits.
Auditor Market Share by Clients
In 2020, 314 audit firms competed for market share among 3,084 total broker-dealers. When looking at audit firms by number of clients, the Big Four audit firms held 16.6% of the broker-dealer market. EY took the top spot for the year with 151 clients, followed by PwC with 140 clients. Both Deloitte and KPMG served 111 broker-dealer clients in 2020. After the Big Four, other leading audit firms include Ohab & Company, Alvarez & Associates, RSM, and Withum. Together, the leading 20 audit firms accounted for 45.7% of the broker-dealer clients.
Auditor Market Share by Net Capital
When looking at broker-dealers in terms of net capital, a slightly different group is seen among the top auditors. Broker-dealers must adhere to net capital requirements set by the Securities and Exchange Commission and are required to maintain a minimum net capital, which is determined by the size of the company. In general, a broker-dealer’s net capital for the year is a good indication of their size.
As one might expect, the Big Four auditing firms took the top four spots by net capital. PwC oversaw broker-dealers with the largest net capital sum, followed up by KPMG, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte & Touche. The next three, however, differed from the top auditors when measured by number of clients. This rearrangement in rankings could be explained by the focus of some accounting firms on serving a smaller number of larger clients. After the Big Four, EisnerAmper, RSM, Ryan & Juraska, and BDO served clients with the highest total sums of net capital. Overall, the top 20 audit firms handled a whopping 98.7% of broker-dealers by net capital.
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