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Concerns fester over auditor disciplinary board, government reappoints chair

Concerns fester over auditor disciplinary board, government reappoints chair

The government has reappointed the chair of the Companies Auditors Disciplinary Board for her third three-year term, which follows concerns from a joint parliamentary committee on the effectiveness of the body.

Appointments Jotham Lian 06 March 2019
— 2 minute read

Assistant treasurer Stuart Robert has announced the reappointment of Maria McCrossin as the chair of the Companies Auditors Disciplinary Board (CADB) and the appointment of Karen O’Flynn as the deputy chair of the CADB.

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Inge Kindermann and Kerrie Howard have also been reappointed as members of the CADB. 

Ms McCrossin has held the role since 2013, and was a former senior associate at Clayton Utz, executive lawyer at AMP, and general manager of enforcement at the ASX.

The CADB is an independent statutory body whose primary role is to act as an expert disciplinary tribunal that considers matters for the cancellation or suspension of the registration of auditors under the Corporations Act 2001

CADB has no power to initiate applications and while referrals may be brought to CADB by ASIC or APRA, CADB has never received an application from APRA.

The CADB only saw one matter referred in each year of 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18, with no matters referred to the board in financial years 2009-10 and 2011-12.

Accordingly, a report by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services last year raised concerns “about the efficiency and effectiveness of CADB being such a small body, with such a small and irregular workload”.

The committee has recommended that the government review the adequacy of current arrangements for auditor disciplinary functions, noting ASIC’s concerns about audit quality in its audit inspection program.

Unpacking CADB

CADB’s expenditure for the 2017-18 year was $525,252, which is within ASIC’s allocated budget but a fraction higher than the previous corresponding period at $516,776.

Members of CADB are remunerated in accordance with rates determined by the Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal, with the part-time office daily rate for the chair set at $1,440, deputy chair at $1,296, and members at $1,152.

The CADB’s full composition should consist of 14 members, including a chair, a deputy chair, six accounting members, and six business members, all part-time appointments made by Mr Robert, the Minister responsible for the CADB, according to Section 203(1) of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act).

However, the board only comprised of a chair, deputy chair, two accounting members, and three business members for 2017-18.

Accounting members are required to be a resident of Australia and a member of a professional accounting body or any other body prescribed by regulation.

Business members represent the business community and have qualifications, knowledge or experience in business or commerce, the administration of companies, financial markets, financial products and services, economics or law.

Grant Thornton partner Eric Passaris is an accounting member of the CADB and is a registered company auditor and a member of CAANZ and CPA Australia.

Tony Brain, appointed to the CADB as an accounting member in 2017, was a former audit partner with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and is a member of CA ANZ.

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Concerns fester over auditor disciplinary board, government reappoints chair
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