Speaking at the National SMSF Association Conference in Melbourne, ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell said one of the two areas of focus ASIC has over the next few months is the ongoing work it’s doing to lift the standards of advice and “to focus on areas where [it] believes there may be risks of poor advice”.
“As part of that we’ll have a major project this year on advice given around SMSFs, we’ll be looking in particular at advice, if it’s been given recently, about establishing an SMSF, or advice that’s currently at play,” said Mr Kell.
“As part of that we’ll be doing an advice shadow shop of the sector, to get a real time on the ground picture of the sort of advice that’s being offered to people out there, when it comes to setting up a SMSF.”
Mr Kell said this will give ASIC a sense of what is working well and what isn’t and will be later communicated to the industry.
“We’re getting some useful data from our colleagues at the ATO that will help us target that effectively, so that [project] is going to be one of the main areas of work for us in the advice space in 2017,” he said.
“We’ve done these sorts of exercises of the past few years, around advice at the point of retirement, and it does help us get a picture of what’s actually being said, because it’s sometimes difficult to get that complete picture from just the files themselves.”
Accountants have been warned on various occasions that ASIC will be monitoring new licensees for instances of unlicensed advice.
Mr Kell said ASIC also has a “very heavy focus at the moment on working it’s way through the limited licence applications”.