Accountants who have recently entered the financial advice industry, and unlicensed financial advice by accountants, will be part of one of ASIC’s key surveillance projects, according to the corporate plan.
This follows a multimillion-dollar reform package from the government to ASIC, with a view to equip the regulator with stronger surveillance capabilities in Australia’s banking and financial systems.
ASIC previously flagged that it would be dedicating resources to monitoring accountants after 1 July this year, with commissioner Greg Tanzer stressing that there would not be a phase-in period for compliance activity.
“Frankly, if you decide after 1 July to give advice on establishing or operating an SMSF and you don’t have the requisite licence, where you’re not operating under a licence for someone who does, you’re acting illegally,” Mr Tanzer said.
“Then you’re joining the club with the investment scammers, the property spruikers, and all of the other people who choose to operate illegally.”
More broadly, ASIC said it will be paying close attention to the gatekeeper culture “that is driving poor conduct within the financial advice, credit, insurance, superannuation and managed fund sectors”.
Target areas will include reward and incentive structures, recruitment and training policy, whistleblower policy, conflicts of interest, and the nature and level of complaints and complaints handling.
It will also assess the remediation policy and procedures, and corporate governance frameworks to support customer-centric culture.