During the review of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Annual Report 2015, ASIC senior executive Warren Day said there is “no straightforward answer” regarding when ASIC will be able to process the remaining limited licence applications.
“Government funding ended for that transition period on 30 June, so we have no extra resources that we can deploy, but we have deployed resources dedicated to this,” Mr Day said.
“At this stage, our expectation is that we will get through most of the backlog by the end of this year. However, I would still expect, given that a high number of the applications we’ve received are poor in terms of their content, that we will still have applications in the low hundreds on hand into next year.”
Therefore, it is anticipated that hundreds of accountants may not be licensed to give SMSF advice before the new superannuation legislation is locked in, which is when Licensing for Accountants chief executive Kath Bowler believes “the real issues” for accountants will set in.
Significantly, Ms Bowler believes many accountants will find that they’re not comfortable with their chosen licensing route once they begin operation.
“I have often predicted that the home accountants end up in on the first of July, for lots of them won’t be the right home longer-term,” she said.
According to ASIC, the long delays are the result of the large numbers of applications received in the final months of the transition period.
“The point that I would like to make is that this was the longest transition period that we’ve ever had for a regime like this and we received 66 per cent of applications in the last four months,” Mr Day said.
“We put very public notices out that we wanted people to apply by the end of March this year. If they had applied by March this year, we gave a guarantee that we would have finished their application assessment by the deadline. Unfortunately, a lot of accountants did not heed that warning.”