Dealer groups, SMSF advisers brace for licensing switches
The incoming education changes for financial advisers are expected to see accountants who are “straddling the line with SMSF advice” forced to make a clear decision on whether to remain in the SMSF advice space.
David Moss, who is accountant services director at the dealer group Merit Wealth, believes the incoming professional standards for advisers set by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) will prompt anyone who wants to remain in superannuation and SMSF advice to seriously consider the commercial risks and viability of their services.
“Within the SMSF advice space you’ve got accountants who work in that space, you’ve got financial advisers who work in that space, but there is also a large number of accountants who quasi work in that space,” explained Mr Moss.
“They are not licensed and so they're not giving financial advice but they're straddling the line, they're trying to work out where they sit.”
“Those straddling the lines will forced to make a decision, do they get licensed or not?” said Mr Moss.
For those that are licensed, there will be pressure from ASIC on the licence, and pressure from the industry for the licence and its advisers to obtain the right level of education, he said.
“The FASEA changes that kick in, in just over six months now, are going to drive massive changes within the industry, particularly around SMSF and superannuation advice because it's now bringing a lot of attention to superannuation advice and raising the question do I need to be licensed or not for accountants,” he said.
While removing those who dabble in SMSF advice can be a welcome consequence of regulation, as previously reported, accountants with decades of experience and post-graduate level education are in the firing line.
Mr Moss' projections are similar to what licensees and consultants to accountants have told SMSF Adviser since the FASEA guidance was initially released.
Director at Ariel & Associates, Jeremy Danon, fears the reforms could prompt accountants with a limited licence to cease their SMSF advice offerings, or be tempted into unlicensed advice.
“If ASIC are blind to this, then they are ignorant of the many accountants just giving “factual advice” and thus satisfying themselves that they are operating properly,” Mr Danon previously told SMSF Adviser.
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.