Tougher barriers flagged for new entrants to SMSF advice
In line with its promised crackdown on new entrants to the SMSF licensing space, ASIC is adopting a tougher approach to limited and full AFSL applications and is actively investigating social media accounts, past employees and company records to assess the quality of responsible managers.
The Fold Legal senior consultant Sonia Cruz says ASIC has become more rigorous in its assessment of license applications across the board in the past 12 to 18 months. In some cases, the regulator is refusing to accept applications for lodgement that do not contain all the required material.
“If you don’t supply all the documents they ask for, then some analysts do reject applications and you need to resubmit a new application,” Ms Cruz told SMSF Adviser.
This initial check can take up to four weeks, causing a causing significant delay for applicants in having applications assessed.
“It really depends on the analyst that you get at ASIC as some of them are a little bit more flexible and they’ll point to you what’s missing, while others will just reject the application and you have to resubmit a new one,” Ms Cruz said.
ASIC analysts are also more actively looking for evidence of past conduct, she added.
Ms Cruz warned that analysts look at internet and social media such as LinkedIn to assess character and verify past experience, former employers to verify experience and company records to verify financial information.
Analysts will also check for direct or indirect involvement in or association with other ASIC stakeholder and enforcement teams.
It will also contact external agencies, such as other local or international regulators, for information about compliance with analogous obligations in other regimes.
“You need to provide ASIC with a submission that explains to ASIC how that person has relevant experience with the financial products that you’re applying for,” Ms Cruz said.
“It’s really important … that when you submit the information that ASIC asks for, that it is consistent with what you’ve published on social media and even resumes that you’ve given to other employers.”
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.