Jaime Lumsden Kelly, senior lawyer at the Fold Legal, said ASIC is "very serious" about the 'soft deadline' of 1 March 2016 it announced in August, with licensing applications sent by clients of her firm taking around three to four months on average.
“Our experience has been around two to four months, even for some of the simpler applications. Some of the more complex ones have gone well over six months, so that deadline is absolutely critical,” Ms Lumsden Kelly warned.
While the applications taking six months are arguably more complex than the usual applications sent in by accountants, she said, generally things are running slow with ASIC.
“Previously we told people six to eight weeks; now, eight weeks is good,” she said.
Accountants who are only thinking about their training now are at real risk, Ms Lumsden Kelly added, with the completion of four modules at Kaplan, for example, taking up to nine months.
“It’s self-based study so you can do it faster but, of course, you've really got to work hard to complete it in a shorter time frame, and we've now got less than nine months left until the 1 July deadline,” she said.
Ms Lumsden Kelly said that completing the training in time to get the licensing application to ASIC was a “real bottleneck at the moment”.
“Certainly there’s now pressure on the accountants in terms of finding the course that’s quick enough for them to complete and still get their licence applications in, versus doing something that’s quality and actually going to be accepted by ASIC,” she said.