As it stands, only 65 accountants have so far been approved for a limited licence. As heavily reported in SMSF Adviser, the general take-up of the new SMSF licensing regime for accountants has been slower than anticipated.
In fact, earlier this year, ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell urged all accountants to “get their skates on” to ensure they can legally provide SMSF advice from 1 July 2016.
However, Vicky Stylianou, the IPA’s executive general manager, advocacy and technical, questioned how well placed ASIC would be to cope with a flood of accountants seeking a licence.
“[Previously,] there has been a three-month extension because the regulator hasn’t been able to cope, and ASIC is under review, so it will be interesting to see how that goes,” Ms Stylianou said.
“We talk to ASIC all the time and I think they’re expecting a flood, and they’re probably getting ready for it. It’s something I think we probably won’t know until the last minute,” she said.
Ms Stylianou also expressed concerns about accountants who may simply run out of time to sort out their licensing arrangements and be forced to rely on referral relationships to keep their SMSF clients on the books.
“If that was going to be their choice that’s great, but I think my main concern is there’s still a lot undecided and there’s still a lot that don’t realise how much is involved in entering the licensing environment,” she said.