The scrapping of the accountants' exemption to advise on self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) without an Australian financial services licence (AFSL) presents an opportunity for accountants to increase their revenue and profitability inside the accounting firm.
That was the opinion of GPS Wealth director, Greg Holman, who made the point despite accountants previously expressing displeasure at the fact that planning practices would take a cut of all fees that accountants would generate under the licencing regime.
"The stars have aligned like never before for accountants and planners to work together. A good accountant and good planner together are providing a great service and a great team for the client," he said.
Holman pointed out planners who wanted to suggest SMSFs or discretionary trusts for asset protection purposes to clients could refer those clients back to the accounting firm.
"The accounting firm under the GPS model also has an opportunity to be paid a referral fee, or some of them will set up joint ventures and will be part owners with the planner of the new, separate financial services division," Holman said.
"So it only adds to the growth of revenue and the growth of profitability inside the accounting firm."
Holman also emphasised that planners and accountants were not in competition as they had different skillsets. While the accountant could provide class of product advice, planners could provide specific product advice. Accountants could provide tax advice and advise clients on the need for insurance, they could then refer the client to the financial planner for detailed, product-specific insurance advice.
But he reiterated the warning made by others that those accountants who had not applied for a licence that their professional indemnity insurance would not cover them if they provided SMSF advice, and they risked the ire of the corporate regulator.
GPS Wealth has added 125 practices or close to 200 accountants to its practice in the last 15 months, with many of them joining the firm from institutional dealer groups.