Count CEO warns on capacity risks for SMSF licensing

Accountants who leave their SMSF licensing decision too late may find the services they need to become authorised to provide SMSF advice are at capacity for extended periods, according to Count chief executive David Lane.

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Mr Lane explained the process for accountants to become licensed to provide SMSF advice after 1 July 2016 may not necessarily be straightforward.

He said once accountants have chosen their licensing path, they will need to undergo training to fulfil those licensing requirements, which relies on the availability of education providers.

“When you look at all the groups that provide that service in the market, they’ve been set up for a number of years to take on maybe 1,000 new advisers over a course of a year,” Mr Lane said.

 

“Now we’re talking about 10,000 accountants… if 5,000 show up in June 2016 saying ‘we really need to do something because on July 1 the world changes’, all of those training groups just couldn’t possibly take them on.”

A significant proportion of firms who have applied for an AFSL with ASIC have been turned down, Mr Lane noted, meaning accountants should not rely on ASIC approving their application quickly, or at all.

Joining an AFSL as an authorised representative still involves a time-consuming process, Mr Lane said.

“Count is not dissimilar to others, in that we have to do police checks and checks on education and we have to take [accountants] through training programs,” Mr Lane added.

“Historically, we have taken on 10 or 20 or 30 new firms a year. If 100 show up in June and say they want to join us, we wouldn’t have the capacity to do that,” he said.

“That’s not just Count; that’s across the industry.”

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