Accountants and financial tax advisers (TFAs) cannot lay claim to providing better quality advice than ordinary financial advisers, according to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
What is more, ASIC has made clear that it remains strongly opposed to any move towards reinstating the so-called accountant’s exemption, albeit that the regulator is prepared to support a simplification of the accountant’s limited licensing regime.
The regulator’s views are made crystal clear in its submission to the Review of the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) recently released by Treasury.
Amid recent calls by accounting groups for reinstatement of the accountant’s exemption, ASIC said however, that while it did not consider that there was any justification for reinstating the old accountants’ exemption (or modified version of it), “we do acknowledge that there are aspects of the accountants’ limited AFS licence regime that are to difficult to understand and comply with”.
“We would support simplifying the regime through law reform,” it said. “We would be happy to provide input to any such simplification process.”
“Finally, we note that through our work, we have not seen evidence that Tax Financial Advisers (TFAs) or accountants provide more compliant advice or better financial advice for consumers than other financial advisers and do not believe that concessions from the financial advice regime for accountants can be justified on this basis,” the ASIC submission said.