Laggard accountants weigh on ASIC resources

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has fired another shot over the bows of laggard accountants over their last-minute attempts to become licensed and the legal implications for those who seek to provide unlicensed advice.

The ASIC warning shot is contained in the regulator's overview of licensing and professional registration applications: January to June 2016 released this week in which it has warned that the laggard approach of accountants had placed it under significant pressure.

It reinforced that the ASIC's funding for implementing the limited AFS licensing regime ended on 30 June 2016 but that the regulator now had a significant number of outstanding limited AFS licence applications to assess as part of our standard operational budget.

"Consequently, our workload in dealing with these applications has increased substantially, meaning that there will be a significant delay before they can all be assessed," ASIC said. "Given the volume of limited AFS licence applications still on hand, and the fact that many applications do not generally include all the information we require, we expect that we will need to request further information or clarification to complete our assessment."

ASIC said its aim was to complete the work for all applications lodged before 30 June 2016 by the end of March 2017 but added that it was hard to predict when it would complete all the assessments.

"We have been clear in our communications about the need for accountants not to leave their licence applications until the end of the three-year transition period, and we were supported in this communication by the professional accounting bodies," it said. "This current backlog is also affecting the level of service we can provide in the near term to other licence and professional registration applicants."

ASIC also renewed its warning to accountants to refrain from providing advice unless they were appropriately licensed.

"Any accountant who does not hold an AFS licence, limited AFS licence, or an appropriate authorisation from an AFS licensee or limited AFS licensee, must not provide advice in relation to the acquisition or disposal of an interest in an SMSF, or provide any other financial service," it said. "Providing unlicensed financial services is a criminal offence. If we become aware of accountants providing unlicensed advice, we may take regulatory action."

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Shame on you ASIC
Time to look after the most important profession in the land
Accountants are the most important professionals in Australia unlike financial planners who are not even regarded as a profession
We even give smsf advice
The days of the financial planner are very limited
Planners need us to do bas, tax etc but we do not need planners
ASIC stop prioritising planners and give priority to accountants after all we are the professionals and planners are not

I have never seen such a conceited, egotistical post to any article. You obviously have no real idea what Financial Planners do. I am a qualified accountant (CPA and CA) but have chosen to be a Financial Planner for the past nearly 30 years. I have also been a director of a Financial Services Licensee for the past 17 years. ASIC gave the accounting profession 3 years to get themselves appropriately qualified and licenced under the new regulations, yet the majority decided to first take the ostrich approach and stick their heads in the sand hoping the regulations would be rescinded. When this didn't occur, the truly professional accountants undertook the required training and then made application for their own licence or became authorised representatives of a Financial Services Licensee.
For those that chose not to do this and then now place the blame at ASICs feet is beyond arrogant.
In my opinion the majority of the financial planners I know (and that is a large number) are true professionals and for you to imply otherwise is disrespectful to them and what they do for their clients.
I have known of many so-called professional accountants who have done the wrong thing by their clients so being a so-called "professional" doesn't make you high and mighty.
Get your head out of your rear end and stop criticising others who do a great job for their clients, even if at present they are not called professional in name, they are certainly in deed. Aren't you up to date with the latest requirements for professional planners moving forward.
We actually operate in a more regulated environment that accountants and have always been required to put our recommendations to clients in writing. This has not been the case with accountants giving advice to date.
PS - If you are going to post at least provide your name and not hide behind "Accountant CPA". That is the approach taken by gutless teenage trolls on Facebook.

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