The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) should be confined to an education and CPD advisory role to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) under proposals for the future regulation of tax financial advisers put forward by the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA).
As well, the AFA has pointed to serious problems associated with any attempt to reintroduce the so-called Accountant’s Exemption.
In a submission to the Review of the Tax Practitioners Board, the AFA urged giving priority to reducing regulatory overlap and said that its preferred position was that ASIC would be the primary regulator supported by FASEA and, perhaps, the Government’s proposed central disciplinary body.
“ASIC would maintain the financial adviser register and would set the standards for the provision of financial advice. FASEA would set the education and CPD requirements, along with the Code of Ethics,” it said.
The AFA then proposed that “the TPB would continue to have a role as an adviser to both ASIC and particularly FASEA, to ensure that the education and CPD standards adequately incorporate taxation requirements and content”.
The AFA also suggested that any move to reintroduce the Accountants Exemption would run foul of the introduction of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
“We note the discussion about the accountants’ exemption, however resolving this issue presents a few fundamental complications, including advice documentation standards and the complaints framework,” the AFA submission said.
“Requiring advisers who recommend SMSFs [self-managed superannuation funds], to operate under an AFSL [Australian Financial Services Licence], means that they are required to be bound by an internal dispute resolution and an external dispute resolution (AFCA) regime,” it said. “If the accountants’ exemption was reintroduced, and limited licensing was disbanded, then accountants in this situation, would not be bound by membership of AFCA, which would be a reduction in the level of consumer protection.”
“We do however recognise the imposition of the financial advisers Professional Standards regime on limited licence accountants and do believe that it is appropriate for the Government to give consideration to how this regime can be refined to better address the specific role that some specialists, such as limited licence accountants, play.”