close

Newsroom

Big Four split over Hong Kong democracy movement

9th July 2014

MGI World Big Four split over Hong Kong democracy movement

The Big Four accountancy firms have been slammed by their own employees after they attacked a pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

Staff at EY, KPMG, PwC and Deloitte sought to distance themselves from their employers after the four firms took out advertisements in three Chinese-language newspapers criticising the Occupy Central movement, which is calling for Beijing to carry out promised electoral reform in the city.

Protesters are incensed that a commitment to roll out universal suffrage in Hong Kong by 2017 is being watered down by China as it seeks to ensure only candidates from a Beijing-approved list could stand. Occupy Central has threatened a campaign of civil disobedience, which is worrying some in the business community.

In the joint ads, the Big Four firms said: “We hereby announce that we are opposed to this movement, and are concerned that ‘Occupy Central’ would have negative and long-lasting impact on the rule of law, the society and the economy of Hong Kong. We hope that the disagreements could be resolved through negotiation and dialogue instead.”

They also warn that “banks, exchanges, and the stock market would inevitably be affected… regulatory bodies could also be unable to function normally, raising market instability and confusion and causing losses to the economy and public livelihood which are difficult to estimate”.

Days later an ad was carried in newspapers purportedly from staff at the four companies that said: “Hey boss, your statement doesn’t represent us.”

Certainly the Big Four are not entirely alone in their reservations about the movement. The chambers of commerce of Hong Kong, Italy, Canada and India have all voiced concerns. Banks are also worried, with Barclays and HSBC among those to air their concerns about the effects of civil disobedience on Hong Kong’s economy.

It raises some important questions about the rule of law and protest and how it can impact businesses. But it also highlights that accountancy firms are in the public glare as much as the businesses they work on behalf of.

Read more on Industry news and Asia

MGI World New guide for Doing Business in India

Do you have clients with business in India? Keep them up-to-date with the NEW 2021 Guide for Doing Business in India

23rd February 2021

Looking to do business in India? MGI Asia member firm C.R. Sharedalal & Co., based in Gujarat,...

MGI World India map with the colours of India flag and text overlaid

Looking for a round-up of India’s annual budget? MGI Worldwide CPAAI firms provide key insights into the India Union Budget 2021-2022

19th February 2021

India's much-awaited annual budget was presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 1...

MGI World Print screen of Tambakad & Goil MENA Success Story - first page section

A successful collaboration between MGI Worldwide CPAAI members in India, Singapore and the UAE has helped Indian start-up expand its business!

8th February 2021

MGI Worldwide CPAAI members B.M. Tambakad, partner at Tambakad & Goil in India, Imran Assan,...