The European Commission (DG Internal Market and Services) commissioned Oxera to examine ownership and management rules related to audit firms, their corporate structures and their access to capital. The report considers the implications of these factors for the competitive landscape in the market for audit services to large companies. The Oxera study shows that restrictions on access to capital were one of several potential barriers to entry in the market. Other barriers included reputation, the need for international coverage, international management structures and liability risk. The key question considered is to what extent the corporate structures adopted by audit firms, whether driven by the rules or by commercial factors, affect the market’s ability to deliver a more open configuration that would reduce some of the concerns expressed about concentration and choice in the audit market. In this context, Oxera has analysed the potential benefits as well as the potential costs of relaxing the ownership rules. Employee ownership is seen to provide important benefits to audit firms in terms of the ability to retain and develop human capital. At the same time several aspects of the employee-owned corporate form of ownership adopted by audit firms are likely to raise the required rates of return of audit firms, as well as restrict their ability to access capital in the first place. The report concludes that relaxing these rules could create new investment and entry opportunities. The key legislative requirements in 18 Member States are covered in the Annex to the report.