ASIC warns accountants on high-risk licensees

Licensees who do not appropriately resource their compliance functions represent a “significant risk” in the SMSF sector and to accountants looking to become authorised representatives, ASIC has warned.

Speaking at a SPAA NSW chapter meeting in Sydney on Tuesday, ASIC senior executive leader, financial advisers, Joanna Bird said it is too soon to draw conclusions about the AFSL decisions accountants may ultimately make, but she issued a general warning:

“We don’t have a problem with licensees targeting these people so long as the licensee they go to has appropriate resources,” Ms Bird said.

“We do have a problem with licensees for hire and would strongly advise against joining a licensee that does not put significant resources into that central compliance function.

“The licensees for hire are a significant risk in the industry.”

The ASIC official and former Sydney Law School associate professor said the regulator’s “previous experience” with transition periods indicates many may wait until the last possible moment to make a firm decision on licensing options.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a rush at the end,” she said.

On the issue of whether accountants opt for authorised rep, self-licensing or limited licence options, Ms Bird said numerous factors might influence the decision.

“We are getting the message out that it’s not really easy [to self-licence] and you do need to put a lot of effort into it, which may in the end push them to go the authorised rep route,” she said.

“But at the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of them went ahead and became fully licensed.”

promoted stories

SUBSCRIBE TO THE SMSF ADVISER BULLETIN

Strategy