AAT upholds ASIC’s decision to disqualify SMSF auditor
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has affirmed ASIC’s decision to disqualify an SMSF auditor after it found the auditor had “plainly breached auditor independence requirements”.
In a public statement, ASIC said the AAT was satisfied that Mr Abe Samuel had “failed to carry out or perform adequately and properly the duties of an auditor under the act or the regulations or as otherwise required by law; and, furthermore or alternatively, the applicant, Mr Samuel, is not a fit and proper person to be an approved SMSF auditor for the purposes of the act”.
ASIC said the AAT had upheld its decision due to the “very serious and fundamental nature of the applicant’s deficiencies” which included “his longstanding and ongoing failure to understand properly those deficiencies; and the clear need to uphold the integrity of the SMSF system”.
ASIC made an order disqualifying Mr Samuel from being an approved SMSF auditor on 7 October 2015.
“Mr Samuel requested that ASIC reconsider the disqualification decision. On 23 November 2015, a delegate of ASIC confirmed the decision,” the corporate regulator said.
ASIC found that Mr Samuel breached the auditor independence requirements of APES 110 where he was a “member of a fund he audited and also the director of its corporate trustee; and the power of attorney holder for, and a relative of, a member of a fund he audited”.
In reference to the AAT finding, ASIC commissioner John Price said to safeguard the SMSF sector, “ASIC will continue to use its power to disqualify approved SMSF auditors that don’t perform their role adequately and meet professional standards”.
ASIC also noted that members can check whether their auditor is registered or whether a person has been disqualified by searching its SMSF auditor register.