On 2 July The Mover received a copy of a letter, addressed to the President and General Manager of FIDI, from an anonymous group simply calling itself a ‘Group of concerned FIDI Members’. The letter complained that, during the COVID-19 crisis FIDI had not provided adequate support to its members.
In particular it criticised FIDI for reinstating FAIM audits from September although companies would not have had adequate time to prepare because of the disruption caused by COVID-19; and questioned the wisdom of proceeding with the annual conference in Osaka in view of the financial pressure that most members were under. It said that the letter was sent anonymously “for fear of reprisals and unfair treatment”. It added that the Group intended to follow up further if its concerns were not considered, although it did not wish to appear threatening.
The Mover immediately replied to the gmail address explaining that it has a policy of not publishing anonymous letters. Although it’s acceptable to publish an anonymous letter, it is not acceptable if the publication itself does not know who is behind it as it has no way of knowing whether, for example, the letter does come from a legitimate group of concerned people or an individual with a grudge. The Mover explained that it would not divulge the source of the letter, but had to know what that source was so that it could make responsible editorial decisions.
It is now Tuesday, 7 July and no further communication has been received. In response to the letter, Jesse van Sas said that COVID-19 has been “totally devastating” to the industry and he fully understood that this is a very stressful time. However, he did not appreciate an anonymous letter: “If you have something to say, then step up and say it,” he said. “We are not the kind of organisation that would penalise people for doing that.”
He said that FAIM audits had been cancelled from March to September and that audits from that time would only be performed if it was safe to do so. He added that if a company felt it was not safe to perform an audit then he would listen to them, but not being prepared for the audit was not, in itself, an acceptable excuse. “In all fairness, you shouldn't need to prepare, quality should always be there.”
Regarding the conference, Jesse said that FIDI was considering what form the conference should take and keeps the matter under constant review. “We are looking at all options,” he said.
He said that he and the president were disappointed to receive the letter as FIDI tries to do its best for its members. “We will not respond directly to the letter but will speak to anyone that comes to us for questions. Meanwhile, we will continue what we are doing with our communication and intensify it if needed to make sure that people understand what FIDI is about, and how we can help our members in a changing market.”