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CA-ANZ votes to harden professional code

Yasmine Masi27 October 2023
Jigsaw rules rewrite

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) members have agreed to reinforce their Professional Conduct Framework after a review suggested changes to the body’s By-Laws and NZICA Rules.

After the review’s final report was released earlier this year in June, the 2023 Member Vote was introduced to implement several of the report’s recommendations including a five-fold increase in fines, broader disciplinary action enabled for former CA ANZ members, stronger investigative powers and more streamlined conduct rules for members.

The vote opened on 25 September and closed Friday 20 October, with approval ratings of the 14 resolutions across almost 6,500 members ranging from 77.25% to 92.17%.

“CA ANZ members have voted to further strengthen their Professional Conduct Framework at a time when the profession’s reputation has never been more important,” Chief Executive, Ainslie van Onselen, said.

“At a time when the public needs to see an effective and robust response to some of the contemporary issues we have seen in recent times, this member endorsement is vital to upholding trust in the profession, and the integrity and reputation of the Chartered Accountant designation.”

The outcomes successfully voted on included:

  • The independent Professional Conduct Committee and Disciplinary Tribunal can deal with Practice Entity (firm) events more effectively and maximum fines are increased from $25,000 to $100,000 at the Professional Conduct Committee level, and from $50,000 to $250,000 at the Disciplinary Tribunal Level.
  • Enabling the Australian disciplinary bodies to address serious misconduct of former members by aligning Australian By-Laws with the NZICA Rules, which already include a former member jurisdiction.
  • Introducing optional firm membership in New Zealand, so firms can take responsibility for systemic issues that lay with the firm, alongside individual partners or employed members of the firm. This aligns the NZICA Rules with the CA ANZ By-Laws.
  • Stronger and more efficient investigative powers for the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC).
  • A more aligned set of conduct and discipline rules that incorporates procedural and efficiency enhancements and additional rights for Members.

“I am pleased members took the opportunity to be involved in this important process,” CA ANZ Chair, John Palermo FCA, said.

“In a year in which the accountancy profession’s reputation has been impacted by the unacceptable and unethical conduct of a few, it’s been important to see strong member support for By-Laws/NZICA Rules changes that will enable CA ANZ’s Conduct and Disciplinary Framework to deal more effectively with matters involving firms.”

The amended By-Laws will come into effect after Royal Assent of the Governor General in Australia has been received. The amended NZIC Rules require Palermo to countersign the rules’ resolutions. This is expected to happen later this year or early next year.

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