Accountants' licensing lag 'disruptive' to SMSF sector

Accountants who leave their SMSF licensing decision to the last minute could see an advice gap form in the SMSF sector, according to AMP.

The slow take-up of the limited licensing regime for accountants is persisting as a “big issue” in the SMSF sector, said AMP SMSF’s head of policy, technical and education services, Peter Burgess, at an AMP function earlier this week.

He warned that it will take “a good 12 months” from start to finish to transition across to the new licensing regime.

“So, in our view, this is not a 2016 issue; it’s a 2015 issue for accountants,” he said. “I think they are leaving it to the last minute, so we’re likely to see a rush on next year, and that’s not ideal. This could be quite disruptive to the industry.”

Mr Burgess is concerned the slow take-up of the new licensing regime will result in less advice being given to SMSF trustees.

“Already we’ve got the situation where, in my view, we’re improving but we’re still a long way away from everyone having access to competent SMSF advice when they need it,” Mr Burgess said.

“My concern is if accountants don’t move to the licensing regime, that situation is certainly not improving.

“[Accountants] have been very important to the growth of the SMSF sector - not just the work they do around auditing and tax, but also the recommendations they provide now under the accountants' exemption to set up SMSFs and so forth.

“Not being able to do that from 1 July is disruptive in that there won’t be as many advisers out there giving advice around SMSFs, as there is now.”

 

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