Accountants are being warned that ASIC will expect documentation of new licensees, in particular, to be in good order, with the regulator set to start visiting firms operating in the AFSL environment.
This morning, by way of an amendment to Class Order 14/923, ASIC clarified the record-keeping obligations for licensees.
The amendments place “beyond doubt” that licensees must have access to records for the period of time in which the records are required to be kept, even if a person other than the licensee holds the records.
Further, licensees must make explicit that authorised representatives who are professional advisers must keep records, and give the records to their authorising licensee if the licensee requests the records for the purposes of complying with financial services laws.
Speaking at a Merit Wealth event in Sydney, director David Moss said accountants should start “cleaning their books”, particularly in relation to SMSF advice clients.
For example, in the form of file notes, accountants should be identifying and recording the current advice strategies in place for clients, such as concessional and non-concessional contributions and pensions.
“ASIC is going to go through thousands of accountants,” Mr Moss said. “If you’re not going to do it, then I think you’re mad. The future of ASIC and the ATO is trawling through databases of information on accountants and making their lives difficult if they can’t provide the right documentation [on clients].”
“If [on the other hand], you have all these documents on file and can provide them to ASIC, then they’ll walk away and leave you alone.”