Incoming mandatory education guidelines require accountants to sort their licensing requirements for SMSF advice well ahead of a “little known” January 2019 deadline.
To qualify for the transitional arrangements under guidance set by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA), accountants must be authorised under an AFSL by January next year.
Those accountants still considering whether they get on board with the AFSL regime to provide SMSF advice, following the phase out of the accountants exemption, will be captured by these new requirements. Market research suggests a significant portion of the accounting population are keen to provide SMSF advice, but put off by the AFSL environment.
Mid-tier firm Hayes Knight surveyed 492 accountants earlier this month, and found only 12 had an awareness of this and other related requirements.
“I think FASEA has very much flown under the radar of the accounting profession. Given the changes that are coming in January, that is very concerning,” said Hayes Knight director Greg Hayes.
SMSF Adviser understands ASIC’s service standard for processing AFSLs is around the five-month mark. At the moment, AFSLs are taking five to six months to process. This brings accountants looking to get their own licence right up to the January deadline if they apply this month.
“We are certainly saying to accountants to think about if you want to be in the space, or if there are others in your firm who want to be in this space, and get them authorised or licensed by January,” Mr Hayes said.
“We don’t have a good reputation for being ahead of the game. You can’t wake up in December and say the deadline is coming up, what do I need to do? If you haven’t done anything quite some months before, you are going to be out in the cold,” he said.
By Katarina Taurian
8 June 2018