The Government has released draft legislation and regulations to implement an industry-funded, fee-for-service, model for ASIC. These include substantial fees to register as an SMSF auditor – $1,927 – or cancel a registration – $899.
“The Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring that ASIC has the resources and powers it needs to combat misconduct in Australia’s financial services industry and bolster consumer confidence in the sector,” said a statement from the office of Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer.
“The introduction of the ASIC industry funding model was a key recommendation of the Murray Financial System Inquiry and is a critical component of the Government’s reforms to strengthen ASIC and better protect Australian consumers.”
One of the draft Bills would increase the cap on the maximum fee that can be charged to approved SMSF auditors from $1,000 to $5,000.
If the regulations proceed as drafted the highest SMSF auditor ASIC fee will be Applying for registration as an approved SMSF auditor, which would increase from $107 to $1,927*. This is lower than what Treasury originally proposed – $3,429, which CAANZ called “seriously excessive”.
The accounting body also took issue with the new fees which would be created by the regulations:
- Applying for conditions imposed on registration as an approved SMSF auditor to be varied or revoked under section 128D of the SIS Act – $1,028
- Applying for registration as an approved SMSF auditor to be cancelled under section 128E of the SIS Act – $899
These two new fees have not been reduced in the exposure draft compared to earlier consultation documents. CAANZ said imposing a fee for cancelling an SMSF auditor registration is “inappropriate”.
Other standard SMSF auditor fees will be increased in the regulations to their current indexed levels.
“An industry funding model is a critical component of the Government’s reforms to strengthen ASIC and better protect Australian consumers,” said Minister O’Dwyer.
“Industry funding ensures that the costs of regulation are borne by those that have created the need for it, rather than the Australian public. These proposed amendments allow ASIC to better align its fees, by enabling ASIC to charge a cost reflective fee for the services it provides for a specific entity.”
Consultation on the draft Bills is open until 24 April 2018 and until 1 May 2018 for the draft regulations.
* Note the above figures compare the proposed new fees to the current fees, which have been subject to indexation, not the original fees set out in the regulations.