Grant Thornton takes the lead in new SEC clients


As the number of new audit engagements continued to climb back from mid-pandemic lows, Grant Thornton topped the league tables in terms of new Securities and Exchange Commission clients in the first quarter of 2021.

The Top Eight Firm added 14 new engagements from a wide range of previous audits, netting 12, while Big Four firm Deloitte added 12 and netted eight. (See “Client gains & losses.”)

Los Angeles-based Macias, Gini & O’Connell, meanwhile, came in second in terms of net new SEC clients, adding nine thanks to its January 2021 merger with Irvine, California-based Hall & Co. (See “Net engagement leaders.”) Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based JP Centurion added four new clients after merging in the audit practice of fellow Malaysian auditor Total Asia Associates in the fall of 2020.

At 121, the overall volume of new engagements continued its rise from the low seen in Q3 of 2020, but remained significantly off from Q1 of 2020.

Clients by filing status, and more

Grant Thornton also led the league tables for new accelerated filers brought onboard, while Deloitte signed up the most large accelerated filers and non-accelerated filers, and MGO dominated the list of new smaller reporting company engagements. (See “Audit leaders.”)

Deloitte was by far the leader in three other categories in Q1: new market capitalization, new assets audited, and new audit fees, thanks almost entirely to signing up General Electric, which accounted for $92 billion of the Big Four firm’s $121 billion in market cap, $253 billion of its $314 billion in its new assets, and $61.6 million of its $81 million in new audit fees. (See “New client leaders.”)

Ernst & Young came in second in terms of new market cap audited, with cancer-focused biopharmaceutical company Iovance Biotherapeutics providing the largest single chunk of its new market cap, with $6.98 billion, and second in new assets audited, with annuity provider American Equity Investment Life Holdings accounting for $71.39 billion of its $88 billion.

Grant Thornton came in second in terms of new audit fees, with commercial food service equipment manufacturer Welbilt Inc. providing the biggest chunk, at $4.68 million.

Data for the quarterly rankings are provided by Audit Analytics, a premium online intelligence service delivering audit, regulatory and disclosure analysis. Reach them at (508) 476-7007, or

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