Speaking at a CPA Australia conference in Sydney, Keddie Waller, policy adviser – financial planning at CPA Australia warned members to begin the licencing process now or miss out on transitional allowances that will help most accountants obtain the limited licence.
“If you don’t make a decision and have your application in and approved by 30 June 2016 you lose all the transition (allowances),” Ms Waller said.
“At the moment, if you apply for a limited licence, and you have a public practice certificate, you’re actually deemed to meet the experience requirement; and the normal experience requirement is that you have to have three years’ experience as a licence adviser within the past five years,” she added.
The vast majority of CPA members, according to Ms Waller, do not have the required experience and as such will have to become an authorised representative of another licensee to continue to provide advice after the 2016 deadline.
“Post 1 July 2016 if you want to become licensed, your only option will be to become licensed under someone else – you won’t be able to apply for a limited licence,” she said.
“The key message that I’m trying to say to members at the moment is that if you know you need to be licensed in some capacity, start your training, because at least that gives you the option when you get towards the end of the transition period to know which way you want to go.”
“If you leave it to the last 12 months to start your training it’s just going to be too late."
Ms Weller’s comments come after ASIC warned of four “concerning” trends emerging from the limited licence application process.
Speaking at the same CPA conference, ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer identified one of these trends as "inadequate or no evidence of RG146 training course completion for all or some of the financial products sought under the application".
Mr Tanzer said inadequate coverage of professional indemnity insurance, limited or no knowledge of the restricted scope of the ‘class of product’ advice authorisation and financial statements lodged in the name of a trust and not the entity or individual applicant, were other issues identified by ASIC.
According to Mr Tanzer, the ASIC licensing team has so far received 62 applications for a limited AFS licence, with 25 applications either withdrawn by the applicant or returned by ASIC on the grounds that they are “materially deficient in respect of the documentation and information which had been submitted”.