ASIC urging accountants to make contingency plans
ASIC is getting in touch with some applicants for the limited licence, advising them to "prepare for the contingency" that their licence may not be approved by the 30 June deadline.
In August last year, ASIC advised accountants that if they did not lodge their applications by 1 March 2016, they would face a "significant risk" of their application not being assessed and approved by 30 June.
ASIC is now writing to applicants for limited AFSLs who have applied beyond this soft deadline, advising them that there is a possibility their applications may not be assessed and approved by ASIC by 30 June 2016.
In cases where ASIC has received an application but has not granted a licence by then, the applicant will not be able to provide SMSF-related financial advice until they are granted a licence or they become an authorised representative of a licensee.
Accountants found to be providing unlicensed services will risk severe regulatory action, ASIC warned.
"Providing unlicensed financial services is a criminal offence," said ASIC’s senior executive leader, assessment and intelligence, Warren Day.
Speaking to SMSF Adviser last month, solicitor at The Fold Legal Jaime Lumsden Kelly said overall the approvals process has been "slow going", due in part to the regulator’s lack of resources and inadequacies in licensing applications.
However, she believes ASIC has now put in place more resources to deal with the new regime.