- A critical reason why I’m voting yes is because of the strength of the specific recommendations that I was pleased to contribute to as a member of the review committee.
- The first recommendation I will call out is the proposal to strengthen our response to firm events.
- I also think it is right that our disciplinary bodies can investigate former members in Australia, as they can already in New Zealand.
This letter explains my reasons for voting in favour of by-law changes, which will strengthen our conduct and disciplinary framework.
Like national legislation and policies, our processes and frameworks must be reviewed periodically to ensure they are fit for purpose. In difficult economic times, it’s even more important to undertake these reviews. There will be challenges and our frameworks must be fit for purpose to both support and respond.
Recent conduct matters (although independent of the review, which started mid-2022) serve to highlight this need, and the importance of strong professional and ethical standards, as well as a robust conduct framework to underline the commitment we make as chartered accountants.
Individually, our actions contribute to the reputation of our profession. And collectively, we must also act to ensure that our conduct and disciplinary framework is fit for purpose.
This is one of the reasons why I’m voting yes for these changes. As a member of the profession, I owe it to those who strengthen our profession every day by acting with integrity. A critical reason why I’m voting yes is because of the strength of the specific recommendations that I was pleased to contribute to as a member of the review committee.
The first recommendation I will call out is the proposal to strengthen our response to firm events; specifically: a five-fold increase in maximum fines for firm events and improved processes to enable more efficient notification, and investigation of firm events.
I also think it is right that our disciplinary bodies can investigate former members in Australia, as they can already in New Zealand.
In response to submissions from firms, the committee has also recommended voluntary firm membership in New Zealand, as already exists in Australia. This will allow firms to take responsibility for systemic issues with a firm, rather than with the individual members.
Adding alternative dispute resolution and conciliation processes, as seen in other regulatory systems, is also a good inclusion. This means a complaint may be referred to conciliation, where complainants and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand members can engage in a facilitated alternative dispute resolution process.
For the benefit of our members and our firms, investigations should reach the appropriate outcomes as efficiently and fairly as possible. As your president, and a committed member of CA ANZ, this is why I am voting for these by-law changes.
Voting will open before the annual general meeting and you will receive detailed information from CA ANZ. Everything you need to vote can be found at: caanz.com/Vote2023.
I would like to thank all our dedicated members for upholding our standards. I share your concern about the recent conduct matters, and your commitment to strengthening the reputation and standing of our profession.