I wanted to begin by thanking the members who attended the extraordinary general meeting on 2 March. Almost 900 members attended and close to 6,000 votes were received on each of the resolutions. I would like to extend a special “thank you” to all the Institute staff that meticulously organized and directed the very high number of members through the registration and seating process. The event went smoothly thanks to their dedication and resolve.
The results were in favour of the resolutions and the Council will respect the views of members and take them into account when deliberating on the plan for the future.
All Council members will now work together in pursuit of our common objective of building the eminent profession for our business community needs.
For a start, we will enhance transparency by publishing Council minutes, except confidential or sensitive items, so that members better understand Council priorities and operation. Members may not be fully aware of the Council’s activities and the Institute, and I hope the release of the minutes will show members how we work in the interest of all.
We must also ensure that we deploy the Institute’s resources in the best interest of the profession. The Council will discuss appropriate financial measures to benefit members, such as through exercising its legal power to fix registration and other fees. This will be part of our holistic review of the fee structure this year.
“ Members may not be fully aware of the Council’s activities and the Institute, and I hope the release of the minutes will show members how we work in the interest of all.”
I travelled with the Vice President Johnson Kong, Chief Executive and Registrar Raphael Ding, and Institute directors to Guangzhou in early March for the Institute’s annual cocktail reception. In my welcoming remarks I emphasized the leading role the collaboration with our counterparts in Guangdong has played in developing our ties with the Mainland. I believe that by working closely with the profession in the Greater Bay Area, our CPAs will have more opportunities not only in South China, but also the rest of Mainland China.
I also took the opportunity to tell our guests from the Mainland of the many CPAs in Hong Kong with a wealth of experience, global views and knowledge of the Mainland. I impressed on the audience how our members are well-equipped to play important roles in the Belt and Road Initiative and assist Mainland enterprises looking to expand overseas and develop their businesses internationally.
In Hong Kong, Financial Secretary Paul Chan gave his budget speech for 2018-19 at the end of February. It was very important for him to lay out his strategies for how to use the fiscal surplus built up over the year, especially given their size. You can read more about the Institute’s response to the budget in Institute news and the thought leadership column from the Institute’s Budget Proposals Subcommittee Convenor, Curtis Ng.
The Institute submitted its response to the government’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) (Amendment) Bill 2018 on 9 March and the Chief Executive Raphael Ding, appeared before the Bills Committee on 20 March to highlight key areas of the bill the Institute wants to see addressed (see Institute news). The Institute is pushing for effective regulation, which works for both the profession and society. We are especially concerned by the push for full composition of the FRC by non-practitioners, in the name of European Commission equivalence, and feel this would lead to a body without the necessary audit and accounting knowledge to accurately assess audit quality and understand the complicated accounting issues practitioners often face.