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‘Execution only’ approach with SMSFs high-risk for accountants

20-Sep-2017 Miranda Brownlee, SMSF Adviser

An industry lawyer has warned the unlicensed accounting firms recently contacted by ASIC that justifying the provision of services without a licence on the basis that it was ‘execution only’ is a risky move that could land them in more trouble.
Last week, ASIC distributed letters to unlicensed accounting firmsafter analysing their advertising and corporate websites, requesting further details about their services and demanding a response explaining their SMSF services.

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Licensing space seeing further movements, says mid-tier firm

15-Sep-2017 Miranda Brownlee, SMSF Adviser

With the licensing regime for accountants in place for over a year now, some accounting firms are re-evaluating their role in relation to the advice space which is seeing some movement in the industry, according to a financial services provider. Easton Investments managing director Greg Hayes said his company has recently noticed increased interest in the advice area.

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ASIC contacts unlicensed firms, demands quick action

14-Sep-2017 Miranda Brownlee, SMSF Adviser

In recent days ASIC has been distributing letters to unlicensed accounting firms after analysing its advertising and corporate websites, requesting further details about their services and demanding a response explaining their SMSF services. In these letters, ASIC quotes text from the website of the accounting firm and highlights particular terms such as SMSF set up and assistance which may suggest the firm is carrying on a financial services business when they are not licensed to do so.

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ASIC probing quality of SMSF advice

13-Sep-2017 Mike Taylor, Money Management

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has confirmed that Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) advice is now firmly in its surveillance sights, including whether the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) best interest test is being applied. At a time when the major industry superannuation funds are continuing to complain that members are being inappropriately directed towards SMSFs, ASIC Commissioner, John Price has told a risk management forum that the regulator “will test the quality of advice to consumers who have set up self-managed superannuation funds”.

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Policy issues still plaguing licensing regime

13-Sep-2017 Miranda Brownlee, SMSF Adviser

Certain interpretations of the law around licensing for accountants is creating practical challenges for the accounting profession and in some cases disadvantaging licensed accountants, according to a consultant. Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Licensing for Accountants chief executive Kath Bowler said there are still a lot of policy issues with licensing that need to be resolved by both ASIC and the government.

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Accounting firms facing roadblocks with full AFSLs

08-Sep-2017 Miranda Brownlee, SMSFAdviser

A number of accounting firms are hitting obstacles when applying for AFS licences as they’re struggling to find a suitable responsible manager to put forward, according to one consulting firm. The Fold Legal head of licensing Sónia Cruz said one of the key issues the firm is seeing around licensing in the SMSF space at the moment is accounting businesses wanting to apply for an AFS licence but not having anyone in the business that they can put forward as a responsible manager.

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SOA hold-ups still plaguing licensed accountants

06-Sep-2017 Miranda Brownlee, SMSF Adviser

Statements of advice that are poorly tailored to accountants or extremely delayed continue to be a significant issue for licensed accountants, according to an advice group.
Merit Wealth accountants services director David Moss said some of the dealer groups providing licensing to accountants don’t have a thorough understanding of the services provided by accountants and don’t have the systems in place to deal with the surge in SOA document requests from SMSF accountants at certain points in the year.

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Accountant licensing has added $2,000 to SMSF running costs

06-Sep-2017 Mike Taylor, Money Management

Regulatory changes including the licensing of accountants have added an extra $2,000 in fees per year to the running of a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF). That is the assessment of the SMSF Association which has told the Productivity Commission inquiry into superannuation efficiency and competitiveness, that the introduction of the $1.6 million transfer balance cap represents an example of a policy that will materially affect the behaviour of SMSF trustees.

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Insurers front ASIC over accountants’ licensing

05-Sep-2017 Miranda Brownlee, Accountants Daily

Personal Indemnity insurers have raised concerns with ASIC that accountants under the limited licensing regime don’t understand their PI policies or what they are insured for, according to a dealer group. Paradigm Group managing director Patrick Nalty said given the fact that the licensing regime is still relatively new and the insurers are yet to have any claims experience with licensed advisers, they don’t have a good idea of what’s happening in the space.

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Lack of regulatory action on licensing spurring complacency

04-Sep-2017 Miranda Brownlee, SMSF Adviser

The limited compliance action on accountants providing unlicensed advice following the removal of the accountants’ exemption is creating a false sense of security among some accounting firms, advice groups have warned.


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