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  1. Pat Synge expressed his concerns:
    “...it feels suspiciously as if the time has come to try the back door method. To attempt demutualisation by stealth.”

    Now, that sort of ‘back door tactic’ would largely depend on the quality of the Chair of the Board of Directors, I would have thought.

    Who was it again?

    http://www.connectfinancial.com.au/ about_us/corporate_profile/board_profile

    Reading his background and his body language, even if he is going out fine dining in the Tamar Valley, Bob would be committed to ensuring our members the best of service in every aspect!

    Actually Pat, I am
    Not Surprised

    Posted by Not Surprised  on  07/04/06  at  01:45 AM
  2. I am a member Of Connect Financial, I voted for demutualisation and I strongly support action undertaken to ensure Connect is able to adapt to the rapidly changing financial services environment in Australia.

    We must recognise that the opportunity for progress was lost last time as a result of apathy on the part of the majority of members.

    Most members hardly bothered to consider the material sent to them last time and were surprised that the proposal failed. They then bemoaned the fact that they had lost money they could have made from the sale of shares they thought they had in the bag. After all, the proposal made good financial and institutional sense, it was bound to pass, so why bother sending back the ballot?

    That opportunity was lost and I fear that the same negative forces, which killed progress last time, are about to do it again. Members simply must open that envelope that arrived from Connect a few days ago, read the contents and realise that progressive elements working for change are doing so for the financial good of members. Do not let negative people consign Connect to a small backwater.

    We threw away our opportunity for progress last time, we must not make the same mistake again.

    Posted by cassandra  on  07/04/06  at  02:01 AM
  3. PS: “You can stand for election to….” Has the writer ever heard of the concept of preselection? It’s been in the news a lot recently.

    Posted by cassandra  on  07/04/06  at  02:05 AM
  4. This fits in well with one of John Kenneth Galbraith’s thesis in his book “The New Industrial State”.  In it he says that “shareholders (the nominal owners of the corporations) have little power over corporate decision-making compared to the top managers and senior specialists in operations, marketing, and research and development, whom Galbraith calls collectively ‘the technostructure’.”

    (‘John Kenneth Galbraith - his life, his politics his economics’ Richard Parker)

    It has been claimed that the Howard Government at least would respect the democratic participation of corporate shareholders (if not anyone else).  This puts the lie to that.  What’s left but a plutocracy of CEOs to run Australia now?

    Posted by Brenda Rosser  on  07/04/06  at  02:54 AM
  5. I’m sorry to hog your bandwidth but I’d like to offer some further reactions to Synge’s assertions, and then I’ll shut up:

    “... the sale of non-voting, dividend yielding shares to investors ...” is recommended in order to ensure that the credit union is able to comply with APRA administered capital adequacy standards.

    “... waiving the “customer must be a member” rule ...” as a limited exception to the general membership rule, is proposed in order to enable the credit union to take steps to protect its members from local economic fluctuations, in accordance with prudential standards set by APRA.

    “.... allowing the appointment of three directors to the board and the appointment of an Executive Director….” Synge seems to have overlooked that the latter shall be Connect’s senior executive, as I read the “Information for Members”. Such senior executive is “paid at commercial rates” and one would not expect anything else.

    “.... the current practice of shareholders electing all Board members….” does not necessarily ensure that the Board is properly resourced with members having skills and experience in line with modern best practice. Such appointed directors (if any) would form not more than one third of the number of member-elected directors.

    “....in addition they want all future nominees for directorships to be approved by an “eligibility and nominations committee”...” in order to comply with eligibility standards set by APRA.

    “.... shareholders ...” (sic) members “....should be offered the opportunity to consider and vote on each change individually on its own merits….” I did not sense any “take it or leave it”  tone as asserted by Synge. This is a considered package of proposals offered by Connect’s Constitutional Review Committee. It is not a mere whim and we tamper with its integrity at our own peril.

    I for one accept the Board’s explanation that the proposed amendments recognise that we are in an era of reform, with changes to the Corporations Act and financial sector regulations. Specifically Connect needs to keep abreast of changes to corporate governance and commercial practice for credit unions. Our directors should be congratulated for their proposals. Let’s move forward, please.

    Posted by cassandra  on  07/04/06  at  03:54 AM
  6. Yes Pat, even if a member agrees with all the changes, the voting should be offered unbundled, or at worst grouped into like changes.

    A “take it or leave it” offering is not a fair process.  What recourse do I have with a single proxy for a multiple change recommendation, given I may support some change and oppose others?

    Posted by Keith Cook  on  07/04/06  at  04:18 AM
  7. Why not, we have it seems dictatorship by stealth

    Posted by Dave Groves  on  07/04/06  at  09:19 AM
  8. Mr. Synge would do well to note the following from the credit union’s site: “The directors unanimously recommend that members vote in favour of the resolution to adopt the new constitution….”. That would include those directors elected on the anti-demutualisation ticket. Those who stood for election and were successful that is ;)

    Posted by cassandra  on  07/04/06  at  10:20 AM
  9. Cassandra seems to miss the point I was trying to make about Board appointees.

    By allowing directors to appoint a total of 4 members to a board of 9 (which can, constitutionally, be composed of only 6) there lies the potential for future ‘board stacking’.

    Preselection, Cassandra, only affects those aspiring candidates who belong to a party.

    Pat Synge

    http://www.buyselltrade.com.au
    tasmania’s community classifieds

    Posted by pat synge  on  07/04/06  at  11:49 AM
  10. Mr. Synge seems to have understood neither the reason for the appointment proposal, nor its operation as explained in the “Notice of meeting and Information for Members”.

    Good corporate governance requires boards to have a balance of skills, experience, expertise and independence. Should gaps in the make-up of the Board be identified by it at some time, the proposal would give it the ability to fill those gaps by appointment.

    The membership would in any event always elect at least two thirds of the directors, ipso facto the members would ensure that the Board could not be stacked any more than it can be at the moment.

    In addition, there is no requirement that appointments actually be made.

    As to the preselection .... really? I should leave satire to Justa Bloke, he’s much better at it than I will ever be 8)

    The real point of course was that APRA requires that “fit and proper” persons be the only candidates for election, and the proposal seeks to establish a mechanism whereby the credit union may comply with that requirement.

    Alas the world is becoming a complicated place and the structures of the past must keep up or be run over.

    Posted by cassandra  on  08/04/06  at  12:05 AM

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