Accountants lag on AFSL

There are 12,500 accountants who want to operate under a full or limited Australian financial services licence (AFSL) to provide self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) advice but only 5,500 accountants have met the licensing requirements, according to Investment Trends.

Investment Trends senior analyst, King Loong Choi, said it was mainly sole practitioners and those working in small accounting firms that were yet to make the move.

"If they don't get licensed, or set up referral networks in the next 30 days they will have to send clients elsewhere for SMSF advice," Choi said.

"More accountants are turning away from the route of applying for their own AFSL, with costs and compliance obligations growing as barriers."

Choi said dealer groups were offering to support accountants as the 30 June deadline approached to provide AFSL access, practice management support, professional indemnity insurance, and technical support.

"There is a huge opportunity for accountants to grow their SMSF revenues and broaden their proposition to SMSF clients by making the move to provide investment advice," he said.

The Investment Trends 2016 SMSF Accountant Report found that there were 9,000 accountants who had made the decision not to become licensed, and would instead refer their SMSF clients to someone else to provide the advice.

"One in four accountants intend to start using a new SMSF software provider in the next 12 months, with over half intending to use a cloud-based solution," Choi said.

The Investment Trends research also found the top three SMSF software providers by user satisfaction were Class Super, BGL Simple Fund 360, and BGL Simple Fund.




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