Fence-sitters ‘caught short’ with licensing
For accountants still undecided on licensing, one consultant believes “fence-sitting has already made the decision for them” and that it is essentially too late for them to be licensed by deadline.
Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Mayflower Consulting director Sarah Penn said if accountants haven’t done anything towards either obtaining a limited licence or becoming an authorised representative by this point “they’re going to struggle to get it done by 30th of June”.
“I think fence-sitting up to this point has actually made the decision for you if you’re an accountant,” warned Ms Penn.
“By now if you haven’t signed up your choices are going to become limited.”
Ms Penn said even the large dealer groups who are chasing licensees still have compliance requirements to meet.
“You can’t licence someone if they don’t have the skills and expertise to be able to do it,” she said.
“So what’ve in place now is basically going to continue. Therefore the ones that haven’t done anything are the ones that going to be in trouble. They’re going to be the ones that get stuck.”
She also has concerns that accountants who haven’t done anything in regards to the licensing regime will simply continue giving the same kind of advice to clients even if though they legally can’t provide it.
“I’ve heard all kind of interesting things about what accountants are going to do, some of which is somewhat concerning; the concerning one being: ‘I will continue to do what I’ve always done because that’s what I’ve always done and I want to do the right thing by my clients’,” she said.
“They might get away with it for a while, but ASIC is on the warpath and eventually they’ll get caught,” she said.
RISE Standards managing director Guy Thompson, other the other hand, said there is still time for accountants to become authorised under a licence.
He noted, however, that the time required for this process will vary among different licensees.
“Different licensees have different models, and different types of support structures, so the less support they provide the more qualifications accountants generally need to do,” he said.
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.