You may recall that last November I wrote about rumours that the ICAEW were considering merging with the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA).
It seems that these rumours had some substance to them.
I understand that in July 2005 there was a report to the members of council of IFA from Michael O'Brien Chairman of IFA, and in November 2005 there was a confidential report to IFA Council members about a meeting between Michael O'Brien, J Malcolm Dean (CEO of IFA), Eric Anstee (CEO of ICAEW) and Les Smith (Head of the Executive Office of ICAEW).
The subject of these two reports?
Progress on discussions on collaboration between the ICAEW, IFA and the International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB).
Seemingly IFA and IAB would agree to affiliate to the ICAEW (to be renamed ICA - post merger with CIPFA). IFA and IAB would then become subsidiaries of the ICAEW, and agree to a common management with the ICAEW.
IFA and IAB would morph into one organisation which would affiliate to the ICAEW. However, there would be two routes to membership (IFA and IAB) and a new class of membership of IFA "Bookkeeper".
The two brands within the new IFA would be controlled by the newly formed ICA council. The November report emphasises that the two brands were seen as "routes", or "qualifications", to membership of the one overarching organisation - the ICA and its affiliate IFA.
It is spelt out that:
"a student can qualify as a bookkeeper via IAB, and thus enter membership of the IFA, and can continue to increase their skills, experience and qualifications to the point at which they can become a full audit member of the ICA."
IFA would have acted as a "feeder body" for the ICAEW, it also seems that IFA/IAB would have pressed for IFA qualifications to be granted exemption for fast track entry to ICA.
All IFA and IAB staff would also have been offered a job within ICA.
I wonder when the ICAEW council were going to tell the membership of the ICAEW about this plan?
Needless to say, this is all past history now. The best laid plans of mice and men etc.
After all, there is no way that the ICAEW would try to foist another merger on its long suffering membership.