Serious concerns follow latest licensing figures update
Concerns are mounting in light of updated figures from ASIC which indicate the number of accountants that have obtained a licence remains limited.
The latest figures issued to SMSF Adviser by the regulator indicate ASIC has received 276 applications for limited licences as of 28 January 2016 and approved 88 limited AFSLs.
The number of limited licence applications submitted to ASIC has increased by 72, up from 204 as reported by SMSF Adviser last year, while the number of approved applications has risen by 10.
SMSF Association head of education Liz Ward said accountants have repeatedly been warned by ASIC that 31 March is the effective cut-off date for those accountants who want limited licences.
“After this date, the regulator is giving no guarantees that there will be sufficient time for accountants to meet the necessary requirements involved in getting an AFS licence,” said Ms Ward.
“Across the industry there is concern and, to some degree, bewilderment about what the thousands of accountants who now advise SMSFs are going to do after 30 June.”
If accountants are not operating under an AFS licence, whether full or limited, or have not established a referral arrangement or joint venture with a party that has an appropriate AFSL, Ms Ward said, they will effectively only be able to provide tax advice to their SMSF clients.
She also warned accountants who are expecting the deadline to be extended that they will be “sorely disappointed”.
“If you haven’t got your plans well underway by now, you have a problem,” she 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.