Accountant licence take-up sluggish

Only a third of the 259 accountants who have applied for a limited Australian financial services licence (AFSL) have had their applications approved by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

The corporate regulator revealed it had approved 87 licences while 45 applications remained under assessment.

Only one applicant had converted from a limited to a full AFSL.

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Meanwhile, 68 applications pre-lodge were administratively rejected by ASIC, while 55 applications pre-lodge were withdrawn, but not rejected.

"Please note that the applications that ASIC has administratively rejected does not mean they have been refused. It means the application was not complete," an ASIC spokesperson said.

With the removal of the accountants' exemption as of 1 July, accountants who would like to continue offering limited advice to self-managed superannuation funds would be required to hold a limited AFSL or become an authorised representative of a licensed firm.

ASIC has urged accountants to allow enough time to prepare an application and undertake required training.

It has also warned accountants could face prosecution if they continued to advise on SMSFs without a licence from 1 July.

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