ASIC reveals registration data, lashes out at accountants

Yesterday ASIC published its fourth report on its professional registration services, revealing data on new and deregistered auditors and liquidators, and highlighting what commissioner John Price has slammed as a "disappointing" drain on licensing resources. 

Report 503 Overview of licensing and professional registration applications: January to June 2016 (REP 503) sets out recent regulatory outcomes achieved by ASIC in relation to Australian financial services licence (AFSL) applications, Australian credit licence applications, liquidator registration applications, company auditor and approved SMSF auditor registration applications.

Importantly, this reporting period marked the end of the three-year limited licence transition arrangements.

Approximately 40 per cent of applicants left it to the last month of that 36-month transition to apply, according to the REP 503, resulting in significant delays in licence assessments and approvals.

“This late influx of applications was disappointing to say the least, especially given the extensive publicity around the need to lodge the applications early and the generous transition [period],” said Mr Price said at the Institute of Public Accountants’ NSW and ACT Conference in Sydney last week.

“Unfortunately, the large number of applications coming in at the end does affect our ability to service other licensing and professional registration requests.”

Between 1 January and 30 June 2016 ASIC approved 18 applications for registration as a liquidator, approved 19 applications for registration as an official liquidator and cancelled the registration of 21 registered liquidators.

During the same period ASIC also registered 164 company auditors, received withdrawal requests from 16 applicants and cancelled the registration of 153 company auditors and one authorised audit company.

In addition, ASIC registered 125 approved SMSF auditors, received withdrawal requests from 69 applicants and cancelled the registration of 124 SMSF auditors within the reporting period.

On the licensing front overall, between 1 January and 30 June 2016 ASIC assessed 1,902 AFSL applications, comprising 1,453 received during the relevant period and 449 received before the relevant period.

“As well as reporting on legitimate licensing activity, this report highlights some of the regulatory actions ASIC has taken when applicants and their advisers attempt to mislead us in their licence applications,” ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said.

Only four AFSL applications were refused, as 122 were withdrawn in response to ASIC’s feedback before proceeding to a formal determination, and two were withdrawn after a hearing was conducted.

During this period ASIC also suspended nine AFSLs and cancelled 143 AFSLs.

 

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