For some individuals who work for large accounting and financial professional service firms, they are not able to purchase shares of stocks in the companies that are audited by the firm. Since there are essentially only four major worldwide audit / consulting firms (E&Y, Deloitte, KPMG and PWC), you will encounter issues with investing depending on which firm you work for. The exact rules depend on your level and the type of work that you are doing and vary by firm – however, it is worth keeping this in mind as you join one of these firms.
I am not saying that these rules make sense per se or justifying them in any way, especially since all of the major ETF firms offer roughly equivalent products (the expenses vary a bit, and some offer unique products such as hedged ETF’s), but these rules exist and often as an employee you have no choice but to comply. The theoretical reason for this is that as an employee of a large firm doing an audit you may have a financial incentive that outweighs your professional judgement; this seems implausible for areas like an S&P 500 index but that is outside the scope of this blog.
Here are the audit firms that audit the large ETF firms as of mid 2018:
- Blackrock / iShares – D&T
- Vanguard – PWC
- State Street Advisors – E&Y
- Invesco – PWC
- Charles Schwab – D&T