ICAEW and CIPFA looking at ‘closer working’

CIPFA and the ICAEW have announced that they are in talks to explore the opportunity of working closer together. Could this be the start of new merger talks?

A joint press release says: “The vision driving the discussions would see ICAEW and CIPFA combining their strengths and resources to better equip them to serve the public interest across all areas of economic activity, including the enterprise, public and third sectors.”

And, in a joint statement, the ICAEW’s Chief Executive, Michael Izza and CIPFA’s Chief Executive, Rob Whiteman said: “We believe there is significant strategic benefit in our two bodies working more closely in the future and our discussions will examine ways of achieving that.”

ICAEW and CIPFA will now conduct further discussions with the aim of bringing forward proposals in 2022.

Any outcome to these discussions will, they say, be subject to approval within the Institutes, as appropriate and necessary under their respective governance requirements, and by key external stakeholders including the UK Government, the Privy Council and other regulators.

What the press release doesn’t make clear is if the ‘outcome’ will be subject to a vote of the full membership. We have asked the question.

This is not the first time a ‘coming together’ has been attempted. In 2005 a merger was voted down after an ICAEW membership vote fell short of the necessary majority – by just 1%. Some 65.7% of ICAEW members voted in favour of a merger, but it needed 66.7% to go ahead. CIPFA members voted overwhelmingly for a merger, with 86.7% in favour. Then in 2007 the two signed a memorandum of understanding, but this seems to have fizzled out.