CA ANZ, CPA reveal advice advocacy plans
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and CPA Australia have provided further details on their plans to simplify processes for accountants wishing to give advice to their SMSF clients, following their opposition to the return of the accountants’ exemption.
Speaking at CA ANZ’s National SMSF Conference in Sydney on Monday, the industry body’s group executive of advocacy and professional standing, Simon Grant, said CA ANZ would seek to act on member feedback around the advice process, particularly ongoing confusion around the impact of the FASEA regime.
“We have heard firsthand members’ feedback today on the barriers they face when providing financial advice and have gauged their views on what the future could look like,” Mr Grant said.
“Having just passed three months since FASEA announced its partial recognition of the CA designation as prior learning, we also continue to urge them to clarify what studies will count for further credit.”
He added that it was critical chartered accountants remained in the advice industry as they were highly trusted and well-educated financial professionals who worked to serve the interests of both consumers and businesses.
The comments come following CA ANZ’s opposition to the return of the accountants’ exemption in its joint submission to Treasury’s review of the TPB with CPA Australia last month.
In a recent Accountants Daily Insider podcast, CPA head of public practice Keddie Waller shed further light on the industry body’s reasons for opposing the return of the exemption, saying accountants needed to be less restricted in the advice they could give to SMSF clients.
“The main thing we need to understand is what the accountants’ exemption allowed someone to do — if you were a full member of either CPA, CA ANZ or the IPA, it allowed you to recommend a client to set up or wind up an interest in an SMSF,” Ms Waller said.
“It was so limited it didn’t even allow you to say to a client that you shouldn’t set up an SMSF, or talk about how existing super the client might hold might be contributed to a new super fund.
“We don’t think [the exemption] is going to address the advice gap… it’s not going to help you service your clients for pension advice, contribution advice, even broad asset allocation or strategic advice.”
She added that CPA Australia was advocating a full review of key legislative frameworks affecting accountants including the Corporations Act, the Tax Agent Services Act and the National Consumer Credit Protection Act to remove duplications, as well as potentially adding a “strategic advice” category to eliminate the need for accountants to provide SOAs.
“The complexity we have at the moment is regardless of the advice you’re providing; even if you’re not talking about investing or setting up a product or exiting a product, you’re deemed to be giving financial product advice and that triggers the advice process and all the disclosure obligations,” Ms Waller said.
“So, if we revisit that definition and look to draw out strategic advice as different to product advice, could that enable advice to be provided by a broader range of professionals with simpler disclosure requirements?”