‘Material deficiencies’ found in SMSF licensing applications
One industry lawyer has found some accountants applying for limited AFS licences with ASIC are doing so without adequate documentation or evidence of necessary training.
Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Jaime Lumsden Kelly from legal firm The Fold said ASIC has cited recurrent mistakes, including the failure of accountants to undertake correct training and obtain the correct personal indemnity insurance.
“[Accountants] understand they need training for SMSFs but they’re not necessarily getting training for the other financial products they are applying for,” said Ms Lumsden Kelly.
“Accountants should be clear about the authorisations they require for the services they provide and make sure they have completed the required RG146 training for the products they intend to provide advice on."
Those who are unsure of the adequacy of their personal indemnity insurance should consult a specialist broker, Ms Lumsden Kelly added.
Ms Lumsden Kelly said ASIC has also cited accountants' submitting financial accounts for the wrong entity as an issue in the application process to date.
“Material deficiencies” both in the documentation and the information provided by applicants was the main reason provided by ASIC for approving fewer than half of applications in the first half of the year.
While ASIC has not provided an indication of what documents have commonly been missing from applications other than those relating to PI insurance and financial accounts issues, Ms Lumsden Kelly said the missing documentation is likely to relate to compliance obligations.
“Some of the most common documents that ASIC asks for in addition to the standard suite of documents they require relate to compliance,” she said.
Ms Lumsden Kelly also said the process will be simpler if accountants familiarise themselves with ongoing AFS licence obligations.
“The application will ask how the accountant proposes to comply with the obligations; to complete it, they need to know what the obligations are and how they propose to manage them,” she said.
“Ideally, their compliance procedures would be in place before they apply, but they certainly need to be ready by the time their AFS licence is issued.”
Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.
Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.