ASIC assessment shake-up tipped to impact SMSF accountants
ASIC is looking to review the current assessment process for responsible managers, which may have implications for accountants looking to apply for their own licence next year, according to a consulting firm.
Speaking to SMSF Adviser, The Fold Legal head of licensing Sónia Cruz said ASIC are now looking more broadly at the whole process for the assessing responsible managers and whether it’s still suitable.
While ASIC hasn’t provided details yet on what the changes to the assessment process might look like, she said, it has indicated that it’s going to be looking for “substance over form in the future”.
“Certainly the way that responsible managers are currently assessed doesn't always necessarily mean that firms are putting forward the best candidate, they’re mostly just putting forward a candidate that ticks those boxes that ASIC is looking for,” said Ms Cruz.
“If anything changes, it’s probably going to be in the longer-term, rather than in the short-term, because government agencies move a bit slower with making these sorts of changes.”
Accountants that are currently operating as authorised representatives, she said, may be looking to apply for their own licence next year, once they’ve met the three year minimum experience requirement to become a responsible manager.
“They need to be mindful that ASIC will go through various checks to make sure they are of good frame of character and may even make contact with associations or the Tax Practitioners Board to make sure the professional hasn’t had any issues in the past,” she said.
Firms also need to include two business references to support the responsible manager in the licence application.
“So ASIC may even contact the referee and ask questions about the person’s experience to verify that information is correct. So it is really important that information that is presented to ASIC about the responsible manager’s experience is accurate because they certainly have the power to check that,” warned Ms Cruz.
“If ASIC deem that it’s not correct that’s going to have implications for the responsible managers and even for the licence application.”
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.