Two more SMSF auditors disqualified for independence breaches

ASIC has disqualified two more SMSF auditors for breaching the auditor independence requirements.

ASIC announced that it has disqualified John Tretola of South Australia and Robert Newham of the ACT from being approved SMSF auditors. These disqualifications were announced on the same day but appear unconnected.

The regulator said John Tretola was disqualified for breaching the independence requirements in APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants  – by auditing his own fund and a fund of which he was the trustee – and failing to identify and report contraventions of the SIS Act.

ASIC said Robert Newham was disqualified for breaching the independence requirements by auditing his own fund and funds where the financial statements were prepared by his staff. He also failed to comply with continuing professional development requirements, according to ASIC.

Independence rules, in particular around SMSF auditors auditing their own fund, has been a recurring issue in recent disqualifications by ASIC.

“SMSF auditors play a fundamental role in promoting confidence in the SMSF sector so it is crucial that they adhere to ethical standards and other requirements,” said ASIC Commissioner John Price.

“ASIC will continue to take action where the conduct of SMSF auditors is inadequate,” he said.

SMSF trustees and members can check the registration status of their auditor using ASIC’s SMSF auditor register.

Information about both individuals was referred to ASIC by the ATO as allowed in the SIS Act.

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