Accountants warned on ‘nightmare’ AFSL

Accountants looking to provide SMSF advice beyond 2016 should be aware that the “compliance burden” of a limited AFSL could be on par with a full AFSL, one accountancy group has warned.

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, David Moss, director at Accountable Financial Group, said an accountant with no experience of running their own AFSL could be “disastrous”.

“Having your own licence is like having another job,” Mr Moss said. “A lot of people will not have the skills… and if they do, they’ll have it for a few years and realise what a nightmare it is to run a licence.”

“Having an accounting practice and having an [AFSL] are completely different. You’ve got different regulators, it’s nothing alike at all,” he said.

Mr Moss said the limited licence will be no exception, and is likely to “take people out of their practices”.

“A limited AFSL is a licence just like a normal licence, only there’s less things you can advise on,” he said.

Mr Moss also said accountants who become authorised representatives are unlikely to join a bank’s licence.

“Banks are interested in one thing when it comes to accountants and financial planners: distribution. That’s the only word they care about,” he said.

“The number one thing for accountants is that they want to help their clients and they want to do it without being told ‘you have to sell this product.’”

The accountants’ exemption will be removed on 1 July 2016. Accountants wishing to continue giving SMSF advice will need to be licensed under an AFSL.

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