Accountants, software companies like BGL and associations including the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) have been calling on the government to consider a reinstatement of the accountants exemption – or similar – following the rollout of the wildly unpopular limited licence regime and now the incoming and onerous new education requirements for accountants giving advice.
New Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert confirmed this week that he would not be considering any options until after the final report from the royal commission is handed down.
“The government is awaiting the outcomes of the royal commission before considering any reform to financial advice provided in relation to SMSFs,” Mr Robert told sister publication SMSF Adviser.
IPA chief executive, Andrew Conway, believes the currently licensing environment is not fit for purpose, and ultimately does not work to the benefit of consumers as the architects of the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms intended. The accountants exemption was scrapped in 2016, as part of the FOFA reforms.
“What has come to light is the current licensing regimes are not meeting expectations, and when I say expectations, I’m referring to the government’s own stated policy outcomes with FOFA of accessibility and affordability,” Mr Conway told Accountants Daily earlier this year.
“Up until July 2016, accountants were able to advise on what was ostensibly a trust, a business structure, that being an SMSF. Beyond that, what our members have said is that their clients are opting out of advice, because the waters are muddier than they have ever been in terms of what can be on offer,” Mr Conway said.
“In many ways, the whole basis of accessibility of financial advice has fallen through the floor,” he said.