SMSF auditors face further ASIC action in Q3
The corporate regulator’s crackdown on self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) auditor misconduct continued in the third quarter, with ASIC taking action against 11 auditors who were all referred by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Between 1 July 2023 and 30 September 2023, ASIC disqualified Carlo Celisano, Eamon Lynch, and Brian Townhill, whose names have been placed on ASIC’s public banned and disqualified register. They are not eligible to reapply for registration.
It imposed additional conditions on Anthony Boys, Laurence Carwardine, Gurjeet Singh, Bruno Sternberg and Mark Turner. The conditions are specific to the auditor and can require undertaking additional professional development, passing the SMSF auditor competency exam, having independent reviews of SMSF audit files and/or audit tools, templates and methodology, performing independence threat and safeguard evaluation and notifying their professional accounting association of the additional conditions.
ASIC also cancelled the registration of Jeffrey Leahy, James Ulrich and Lou Varalla.
It found the 11 auditors had breached their obligations, including breaches of auditing and assurance standards, independence requirements and registration conditions.
“SMSF auditors have a critical role in upholding the integrity of the SMSF sector through annual audits,” said Sarah Court, ASIC deputy chair.
“They oversee over 610,000 SMSFs, representing more than $875 billion in funds.
“SMSF auditors play an essential role in supporting confidence in the SMSF sector, and ASIC will continue to take action where their conduct is inadequate.”
Previously, ASIC disqualified five SMSF auditors and imposed additional conditions on three SMSF auditors between 1 April 2023 to 30 June 2023.
This was in addition to the cancellation of some 413 SMSF auditors as part of its recent compliance program.
Approved SMSF auditors are registered with ASIC under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS Act) with ASIC and the ATO working together as co-regulators of SMSF auditors.