INSTITUTES – ICA fury over rival events

A furious row has erupted between two rival wings at the English ICA, which are both planning to hold the institute’s annual practitioners conference this September.

The prospect of two conferences being run in direct competition with each other has led to confusion among members and those invited to be speakers. It has also sparked concerns about inefficiency at the institute.

The furore follows the sacking last year by the institute’s General Practitioners Board of the institute’s commercial arm, Accountancy Business Group, as its conference organiser.

Accountancy Age has now learned that ABG, which has run the GPB’s annual conference since 1993, has decided to hold a rival practitioners conference at the same time.

GPB chairman John Malthouse said he was ‘livid’ at ABG’s plans. ‘They appear to be mounting an exact clone of our conference,’ he said. ‘Internal competition is ridiculous.’

He said the ‘real’ GPB conference would be held at Keele University, and was being organised by SWAT, an accountancy training and consultancy company.

Trevor D’Cruz, ABG’s managing director, defended his decision to go ahead with the rival conference, which is being held in Oxford at approximately the same time.

He said ABG was run on an arms-length basis from the institute and that this was ‘one of the things that happen in the competitive world’.

Institute secretary general John Collier said: ‘Internal disagreements happen from time to time. I hope this sort of thing can be avoided in future.’

Experts scheduled to speak at the ABG conference appeared unaware of the row. Richard Linsell, a lawyer with Rowe & Maw, invited to speak on partnership law, said he had presumed he would be seeing the same delegates as at the GPB conference last year.

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