One of the ‘big four’ accountancy firms has ruled out developing its legal services business through the alternative business structure route.

The revelation by Deloitte follows PwC Legal’s securing of the right to offer reserved legal services earlier this year.

Deloitte told the Gazette it is not interested in following the same path and has no plans to apply for an ABS licence.

A spokesman said: ‘Deloitte UK is a very active player in the legal industry, working with the majority of the leading firms. While member firms in continental Europe already provide certain legal services, we have taken a conscious decision not to expand our presence in the UK legal services market.’

By contrast, PwC Legal – whose parent accountancy firm was granted an ABS licence in January – has announced plans to grow further. The firm has around 200 fee-earners and has promoted Ed Stacey to head its employment practice and Anjali Greenwell to salaried partner.

Stewart Room, formerly a partner at City firm Field Fisher Waterhouse, became head of cyber security and data protection at PwC Legal at the start of this month.

Shirley Brookes, senior partner, said: ‘I know that they will have much to contribute to the firm as it evolves following the grant of our ABS licence earlier this year.’

Speculation continues to surround any similar moves by rivals EY (Ernst & Young) and KPMG. A spokesman for EY refused to say whether it had applied to become an ABS.

Overall, the number of ABS licences granted by the SRA rose to 318 last week, with three announced in the past month. The latest ABS is conveyancing specialist Ringley Legal Services.

Meanwhile, MPs have passed an order to allow the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, through its regulator ILEX Professional Standards, to approve conveyancing and probate practitioners.