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ASIC Deregisters 117 SMSF Auditors


The corporate regulator cancelled the registrations of 117 SMSF auditors after they failed to lodge annual statements.

The auditors stripped of their registrations will no longer be able to audit self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs).

"Conducting an audit of an SMSF when not permitted to do so may have further serious consequences for the fund and the auditor," the ASIC statement said.?

In November 2017, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission sent out final warnings to 404 approved SMSF auditors who had not filed annual statements. About 287 of the SMSF auditors who were served final notices eventually filed.

On February 20, ASIC finally cancelled the 117 auditor registrations who had not lodged annual statements with their fee, despite the November warning.

Responding to the announcement, Self Managed Super Fund Association (SMSFA) said it supports strong regulation of SMSF auditors.

"SMSF auditors are most likely not lodging their annual statements with ASIC because they are choosing not to audit SMSFs any longer," SMSFA head of policy Jordan George said.

This is not the first time SMSF auditors have faced mass deregistering action from ASIC. Two years ago, ASIC cancelled 133 SMSF auditor registrations for similar reasons - failing to file their annual statements.

SMSF auditors are required to file their annual reports to ASIC within 30 days of the anniversary of their registration. ASIC sends the auditors notifications to file their annual report on the date of their anniversary.

Australia has about 600,000 self-managed super funds managing about $700 billion of people's retirement savings.

The regulator also disqualified a Western Australian SMSF auditor for breaching independence requirements.

Paul Tattersall audited an immediate family member's fund in addition to auditing his own. He also audited a fund where an immediate family member had prepared the financial statements.

Tattersall was referred to ASIC by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) which is a co-regulator for SMSFs.

So far this year, ASIC has taken action against at least four other SMSF auditors. Three of these disqualifications were also for breaching independence requirements.

By Kanika Sood

Financial Standard

2 May 2018

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