Fresh warning on SMSF licensing, property

The Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA) has issued a caution to practitioners who are unlawfully giving SMSF advice.

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, PIPA chair Ben Kingsley said ASIC has made it “very clear” the association will use its powers to bring to account any party operating unlawfully.

“Furthermore, trustees of SMSFs are at real financial risk if they are taking any advice from anyone who simply doesn’t have the qualifications, licensing and skill sets to appropriately advise any SMSF trustee,” he said.

Mr Kingsley said PIPA is concerned practitioners, including mortgage brokers and real estate agents, may be talking to clients about setting up an SMSF to purchase an investment property.

“This is clearly outside of their professional scope and our regulatory laws in the financial services sector. The recommendation of setting up an SMSF can only be undertaken by a qualified and licensed financial planner or accountant,” Mr Kingsley said.

“We would recommend that any property investment advice be provided by those with some level of qualification regarding property investing, even though the industry remains unregulated.”

PIPA has long argued for increased regulation in the property investment space, with Mr Kingsley previously telling SMSF Adviser the government should legislate for property to be classed as a financial product when the purpose of sale is for investment.

“As long as property investment remains unregulated, Australian investors will remain at the mercy of profiteering property spruikers,” Mr Kingsley said.

 

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