PwC Legal gains ABS licence

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) legal arm, PwC Legal, has gained an ABS licence, allowing the Big Four accountant to take ownership of the business.

PwC said the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) had approved the licence today (31 January), following earlier indications that the accountancy firm was looking to become an ABS (9 September 2013).

Rivals Ernst & Young and KPMG have also previously expressed interest in becoming an ABS.

PwC is the second big name to pick up a licence this week, following the earlier announcement that insurance giant Direct Line Group had also been authorised as an ABS (31 January 2014).

PwC Legal currently operates as a separate legal firm within PwC’s wider network, but the licence will enable the transfer of ownership of the legal arm to the wider UK company.

In a statement, PwC general counsel Margaret Cole said the development reflected PwC and PwC Legal’s shared aim of providing high-value services to clients.

SRA executive policy director Crispin Passmore said the licence was “another example of the innovative changes taking place in the legal market”.

Around 240 law firms and other organisations are now licensed as ABSs, with other high street names including the AA (5 November 2013), insurer Admiral (8 April 2013) and BT (4 March 2013).