ASIC is warning that the transitional arrangements around the end of the Accountants’ Exemption for SMSF advice cease on 30 June 2016.
ASIC said that, from 1 July 2016, “accountants must hold a limited Australian financial services (AFS) licence or be an authorised representative of a licence-holder or licensee in order to provide financial product advice on self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs)”.
“Since 1 July 2013, accountants have been able to apply for the new limited AFS licence or become an authorised representative.”
The regulator previously warned that failing to lodge an application that met ASIC’s requirements by 1 March 2016 would mean there was a “significant risk” that the application would not be assessed and approved by 30 June 2016.
ASIC is now writing to applicants who have applied for limited AFSLs since 1 March 2016, “advising them that they should prepare for the contingency that their applications may not be assessed and approved by ASIC by 30 June 2016.”
“In cases where ASIC has received an application but has not granted a licence by then, the applicant will not be able to provide SMSF-related financial advice and dealing services. They will not be able to give such advice until they are granted a licence or they become an authorised representative of a licensee.”
ASIC said it is currently assessing over 300 applications for limited AFSLs.
“The time it will take to assess these applications will depend on the quality of the applications, as well as the other work ASIC’s licensing team is undertaking.”
ASIC Senior Executive Leader, Assessment & Intelligence, Warren Day said accountants that gave unlicensed advice risked regulatory action.
“Providing unlicensed financial services is a criminal offence,” he said.