ASIC foray into SMSFs 'concerning': lawyer

A leading financial services lawyer has expressed concern over ASIC’s involvement with the SMSF industry at a time when many advisers believe the sector is becoming overregulated.

Rockwell Olivier managing principal Peter Bobbin told SMSF Adviser that ASIC’s recent foray into the SMSF market is an industry concern.

“ASIC has jumped on board because [the] industry, curiously enough, has been demanding that they get on board so as to address property spruikers, but ASIC has clearly decided to not stop there and is going a bit further,” Mr Bobbin said.

“It is starting to agitate financial services professionals as to what exactly ASIC is doing and where it is going.”

In a recent SMSF Adviser straw poll, a vast majority of respondents indicated they believe the SMSF sector is at risk of becoming overregulated.

The Institute of Public Accountants’ executive general manager, Vicki Stylianou, previously told SMSF Adviser there has been overregulation in the SMSF space this year, with some “arbitrary lines drawn”, particularly in relation to auditor registration.

“The regulatory [pendulum] has gone too much towards overregulating the profession rather than trying to strike a decent balance,” Ms Stylianou said.

With the continued growth of the SMSF sector, Ms Stylianou predicts greater attention from ASIC in 2014.

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