At 30 June 2017, ASIC had knocked back the lodgement of 225 applications for a limited licence, a year after the new licensing regime came into force. The limited licence was introduced to replace the accountants’ exemption for the provision of services such as SMSF advice.
At this time ASIC had received only 1,210 applications of a limited AFSL, of which 799 were approved. A further 150 were withdrawn, one refused, and 36 were still pending.
ASIC has a 60-day target for processing AFSLs, and in the 2016/17 year only 21 per cent of applications were processed within this time frame.
The workload created by the limited AFSL has affected the ability to hit ideal time frames, ASIC said. It’s likely the burden of the limited AFSL will continue to affect measures into 2017/18.
The phase-out of the accountants exemption remains a contentious issue in the profession, and the licensing pathway has been largely rejected. Even those accountants who intend to grow their SMSF services appear disinterested in the licensing option.
Securing an AFSL was ranked as a low concern for respondents to Bstar’s national accounting survey earlier this year, despite the survey being conducted before the deadline for the expiration of the accountants’ exemption.
Of the respondents, 71 per cent rated their need to act on the issue of licensing as low.