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Gatekeepers in Focus

Gatekeepers in Focus

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Change is a constant in the SMSF sector and this year was no exception. As we continue on this rollercoaster of legislative changes, what will be in store in 2017? Katarina Taurian reports.

 Licensing limbo

On the business front, nothing has dominated headlines more this year than the new licensing regime for accountants looking to provide SMSF advice following the phase-out of the accountants’ exemption. The new rules officially kicked off on July 1, requiring accountants who want to remain in the SMSF space to be licensed under either a full or limited AFSL.

The accounting bodies and the regulators were sounding warnings well in advance, urging accountants to get their licensing preferences sorted ahead of the 30 June deadline. ASIC was particularly vocal in its communications to the accounting community, setting a soft deadline of 1 March and insisting on several occasions that applications lodged past this date may not be processed by 1 July.

1 July came and went, and while many accountants sorted out an authorised representative option for themselves and their firm, a significant number who chose to seek their own licence remain in limbo with ASIC. At time of writing, there’s no indication of time frame for processing. Some fear we will be well into 2017 before the applications lodged before 30 June are approved.

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