Authorised rep take-up limited for accountants

Despite being tipped as the popular option for accountants, new research has shown that the take-up of the authorised representative route for accountants looking to provide SMSF advice after 1 July remains limited.

To no surprise, ASIC has been reporting for months that the take-up of the limited licence option, which involves an accountant obtaining their own AFSL, is slow. Only 149 applications were approved as of 23 May this year.

Industry consensus has been that the majority of accountants would operate as an authorised representative after the accountants exemption expires – however, Investment Trends’ 2016 SMSF Accountants Report suggests thousands of accountants won’t be authorised by deadline.

Only 1,000 accountants have successfully sorted their licensing arrangements, under a full or limited AFS licence, in the last 12 months.

According to Investment Trends, this means there are 5,500 accountants who are now appropriately licensed to provide SMSF advice beyond 30 June.

"Despite the deadline being only a month away, there are still 12,500 accountants who want to operate under a full or limited AFS licence but who haven’t completed the qualification process," said Investment Trends senior analyst King Loong Choi.

The research also found that there are 9,000 accountants who have decided not to become licensed, and will instead rely on referral relationships for their SMSF clients.

Further, Investment Trends noted that those accountants who are moving into the licensing regime will be more involved in providing investment advice to their SMSF clients.

"There is a huge opportunity for accountants to grow their SMSF revenues and broaden their proposition to SMSF clients by making the move to provide investment advice," said Mr Choi.

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