CA ANZ is currently proposing to increase the maximum number of terms a director can serve on its board from two terms to three terms, with each term to remain at three years.
The rationale behind the proposal is that it “enables more effective management of board succession and is consistent with common practice”.
Members have until 27 May to vote for or against the resolution and four other resolutions.
However, seven CA ANZ fellows have now spoken against the proposal, claiming it risks exposing the professional association to the governance issues that hampered rival body CPA Australia.
The seven FCAs, namely Con Abbott, Jo-Ann Long, Michael Allen, Richard Haselgrove, Evelyn Hogg, Joe Pierluigi, and GiGi Visscher, have co-signed an opinion piece published on LinkedIn, recommending that members vote against the resolution.
They have also taken issue with a change that will see elected regional councillors in Australia drop from nine to six, with three councillors appointed by the Regional Council to increase diversity and flexibility of representation.
“The framing of the resolutions is curiously slanted towards a ‘for’ vote – ‘provide increased continuity in board appointments by CAANZ Council’ actually means that a board of directors, unelected by the membership, should now have three terms of three years each (2018 remuneration: $50,000 per annum or $450,000 over nine years),” the letter said.
“Following CPA Australia’s catastrophic governance meltdown in 2017, we believe that members were entitled to receive additional advice about what safeguards the CA ANZ board had proposed to ensure that our governance was not at risk of the same fate that befell CPAA.”
The seven FCAs have called for the professional association to return to its governance structure before its merger with the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, comprising of an elected board of directors and regional councils.
CA ANZ president Stephen Walker said the changes were needed to improve the governance structure of the professional association.
“Members designed these changes to improve governance structure and the changes proposed reflect three main objectives: to broaden member representation of the CA ANZ Council, Regional Councils and Overseas Regional Councils to reflect the diversity of our membership; increase the flexibility and confidence in the way members’ voice is shared; and simplify terminology for committees to improve consistency and clarity,” said Mr Walker.
“The CA ANZ Council and Board are confident that we have achieved these objectives, while also ensuring there are appropriate checks and balances in place to safeguard our member interests.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article suggested that the member vote was part of an upcoming AGM. This has since been corrected.