‘Shut it down’: CPA members rail against troubled advice arm

The new-look CPA Australia board has come out of a fiery annual general meeting victorious, but some members are still calling for abolition of the association’s financial advice business.

CPA held an AGM in Melbourne Tuesday night, attended by more than 300 members of the association following a conflict-ridden 12 months that has seen the ousting of the former CEO, chair and an independent inquiry into governance standards and performance.

All four of the board-proposed special resolutions were passed at the AGM, while 10 non-sanctioned member resolutions failed to get the requisite numbers.

The outcome indicates a decisive win for the association’s board and president Peter Wilson, and a setback for rebel members advocating reform of the association.

But despite the clean sweep, dissatisfaction continues to bubble beneath among the membership, including on the topic of CPA Australia Advice.

One member, Peter Polgar, was vocal in opposition, demanding that the board take the decision to “shut it down”.

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In response, Mr Wilson said the board would not be making any decision about the future of the licensee – which was launched by former CPA CEO Alex Malley and ASIC chair Greg Medcraft in 2014 – until the “middle of the year”, once it had considered the findings of an ongoing PwC review.

The review of CPA conducted by former auditor-general Ian McPhee recommended that the association “reconsider” the advice business project in light of lacklustre performance and concerns around conflicts of interest.

Mr Polgar also demanded that the CPA board disclose the geographic breakdown of the crucial proxy votes, following accusations that Singapore-based members were ordered to support the board’s position rather than the rebel resolutions, as reported by ifa sister title Accountants Daily.

The successful passage of board-supported resolutions will see a raft of changes including the abolition of the association’s representative council, limit on the number of board directors and a remuneration cap for directors.

‘Shut it down’: CPA members rail against troubled advice arm
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