317 limited AFSLs granted as transition period ends

limited Australian Financial Services Licences (AFSLs), limited AFSL, ASIC, accountants' exemptionASIC says 317 limited Australian Financial Services Licences (AFSLs) have been issued or offered, with the transition period for the end of the accountants’ exemption finishing on 30 June.

An ASIC statement said the regulator had received 1,146 applications for a limited AFSL since the transition period commenced on 1 July 2013. Though a significant proportion were received in the last month of the transition period.

Of all applications received, 317 have been granted a licence or offered a draft licence. 264 applications have been withdrawn or returned to applicants. Two have been recommended for refusal. 582 applications are pending assessment.

“From 1 July 2016, accountants intending to make recommendations to acquire or dispose of an interest in an SMSF must hold a limited AFS licence (or full AFS licence) or become an Authorised Representative (AR) of an AFS licensee,” said ASIC.

“ASIC has published guidance and has been working closely with the Joint Accounting Bodies to ensure that all affected accountants are clear about what ASIC requires to obtain a limited AFS licence.”

“The provision of unlicensed or unauthorised financial services in relation financial products including self-managed superannuation funds is a criminal offence and significant penalties apply. Accountants and other advisers who have not had their application for a limited AFS licence approved by ASIC need to implement contingencies until such time as their applications have been approved by ASIC,” said Deputy Chairman Peter Kell.

Mr Kell notes that ASIC received 38% of applications in the last month of the transition period. While ASIC is “endeavouring to give prompt attention to the assessment of these applications”, along with other types of applications, “we expect that the processing of these applications could take longer than usual”.

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