Limited licence slammed as 'band-aid' solution

Accountants looking to diversify into financial planning have been urged to seek a full AFS licence, with one industry stakeholder declaring that limited licensing options were a 'band-aid' solution.

Business broker John Birt, principal of Radar Results, said if accountants want to provide quality financial advice, they should be committed fully to the industry standards and processes.

"Would you be happy to have a part-time surgeon give you a triple heart bypass? You just can't do it part time," he said.

"I can see what the government wanted to try and achieve by offering this band-aid solution, but I cannot see it working effectively. You're either fully in or fully out. That's how mistakes are made when you do something half-heartedly."

Mr Birt added that a major concern regarding limited licensing is that professional indemnity insurance providers might not offer full coverage for limited advice.

Further, dealer groups might not be looking to bring on any limited licensed accountants because of certain risks. HNW Planning, a non-aligned AFSL, was one of those groups that has decided to only work with fully-licensed accountants, he said.

"When licensing of accountants was first announced, HNW Planning hoped to attract many accountants to its AFSL. They have since looked at the risk/returns and have decided against that approach," Mr Birt said.

"Instead, they're concentrating on providing a high service to a few accountants prepared to fully engage in the process."

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