The advisory industrial complex catallaxy files gas engineer salary

Much has been written, said and discussed regarding the supposed “AMP” independent report that went to ASIC. Unfortunately, much of the much has come from the perspective of envy, ignorance or hypocrisy. And in particular, the hypocrisy of politicians who frequently appoint “independent” persons onto Government quangos, including of the 3 letter acronym type ( AAT, FWC, HRC anyone). How about politicians who engage “independent” advisors who somehow, by miracle, never present a report in contradiction to the position of those politicians engaging them.

Any by the way, Spartacus is not yet ready to dam Catherine Brenner. Perhaps Brenner should not have meddled in management matters, but equally we don’t know whether the proposed changes to the draft “independent” report were actually proposed by Brenner (rather than others, including other directors). Or whether the proposed changes were made to mislead rather than to correct incorrect statements. There might have also been typos or misunderstandings of information (by Clayton Utz).

People seem ready to assume the worst of AMP, which is perhaps understandable given the recent behavioral disclosures. But last Spartacus checked, the system in Australia was one of presumption of innocence. Oh and yes, occasionally our beloved politicians like to write laws reversing this presumption (to guilty until proved innocent), although they never seem to do this when it relates to things affecting them. You know like reviews of their travel expenses, their citizenship status and most relevant, their integrity and fitness for office. Note that while Obied, Macdonald and Orkopolous were convicted and jailed, their trials did not start from the presumption of guilt.

Now notwithstanding Spartacus’ above rantings, it is also his view that inasmuch as has been written, said and discussed about AMP, insufficient has been written, said and discussed about the role of Clayton Utz, and more broadly the independent advisor and consultant industry.

In the case of Clayton Utz, they were supposedly independent and were paid for their independence. But if AMP is guilty, what about them? Were they comfortable in surrendering their halo of independence for a few shekels; or perhaps the promise of future shekels.

Um no. Clayton Utz’s client (for this report) was not AMP. AMP may have paid the bills, but Clayton Utz’s client in this case was ASIC. Does Merritt also believe that the customers of external audit reports are the company’s they audit or the shareholders and broader stakeholder community?

The relevant issue here is that of conflict of interest management. Does AMP give general legal work to Clayton Utz and then commission them to write such report? Companies have to disclose the amount and nature of non-audit work done by their external auditors. ASIC also has the power to ban crappy auditors (and liquidators). Why not similar in this case? Well Mr Merritt?

Rest assured that the members of the advisory industrial complex, the accountants, the lawyers, the strategic consultants, make a handsome living renting out their claimed independence and expertise. Perhaps a Royal Commission into the use of these firms by government and business.

Much has been written, said and discussed regarding the supposed “AMP” independent report that went to ASIC. Unfortunately, much of the much has come from the perspective of envy, ignorance or hypocrisy. And in particular, the hypocrisy of politicians who frequently appoint “independent” persons onto Government quangos, including of the 3 letter acronym type ( AAT, FWC, HRC anyone). How about politicians who engage “independent” advisors who somehow, by miracle, never present a report in contradiction to the position of those politicians engaging them.

Any by the way, Spartacus is not yet ready to dam Catherine Brenner. Perhaps Brenner should not have meddled in management matters, but equally we don’t know whether the proposed changes to the draft “independent” report were actually proposed by Brenner (rather than others, including other directors). Or whether the proposed changes were made to mislead rather than to correct incorrect statements. There might have also been typos or misunderstandings of information (by Clayton Utz).

People seem ready to assume the worst of AMP, which is perhaps understandable given the recent behavioral disclosures. But last Spartacus checked, the system in Australia was one of presumption of innocence. Oh and yes, occasionally our beloved politicians like to write laws reversing this presumption (to guilty until proved innocent), although they never seem to do this when it relates to things affecting them. You know like reviews of their travel expenses, their citizenship status and most relevant, their integrity and fitness for office. Note that while Obied, Macdonald and Orkopolous were convicted and jailed, their trials did not start from the presumption of guilt.

Now notwithstanding Spartacus’ above rantings, it is also his view that inasmuch as has been written, said and discussed about AMP, insufficient has been written, said and discussed about the role of Clayton Utz, and more broadly the independent advisor and consultant industry.

In the case of Clayton Utz, they were supposedly independent and were paid for their independence. But if AMP is guilty, what about them? Were they comfortable in surrendering their halo of independence for a few shekels; or perhaps the promise of future shekels.

Um no. Clayton Utz’s client (for this report) was not AMP. AMP may have paid the bills, but Clayton Utz’s client in this case was ASIC. Does Merritt also believe that the customers of external audit reports are the company’s they audit or the shareholders and broader stakeholder community?

The relevant issue here is that of conflict of interest management. Does AMP give general legal work to Clayton Utz and then commission them to write such report? Companies have to disclose the amount and nature of non-audit work done by their external auditors. ASIC also has the power to ban crappy auditors (and liquidators). Why not similar in this case? Well Mr Merritt?

Rest assured that the members of the advisory industrial complex, the accountants, the lawyers, the strategic consultants, make a handsome living renting out their claimed independence and expertise. Perhaps a Royal Commission into the use of these firms by government and business.