Experts Say Rule Change Presents Opportunities for Accountants
Advising on Self Managed Super Funds
2 December 2015
MELBOURNE/ADELAIDE: FINANCIAL services lawyer Andra Lazarescu, compliance expert Jenny Basnec and business coach Gary Jenkins have joined forces to provide Australian accountants with an independent, professional team to guide them through an upcoming law change.
From 1 July 2016 – 22 years after the introduction of Self Managed Super Funds – the law is changing requiring SMSF advisors, including accountants, to be appropriately licensed with ASIC. While the regulatory change is one of the biggest in decades and accountants will need to ensure they are compliant, the new laws also highlight wide-ranging opportunities for new business.
“ASIC has reportedly rejected almost 50% of applications for limited licence received so far,” Ms Basnec said. “This 50% is likely to be re-submitted, potentially clogging up the process even further. ASIC has told accountants clearly now – if you want your licence by 1 July 2016, submit it to them by 1 March 2016.”
The group claims, while dealer groups and some accounting bodies are looking to provide alternative authorisations for accountants under umbrella licences, they believe the ‘Limited Licence’ presents a viable business opportunity.
Mr Jenkins considers that the Limited Licence will provide accountants with an enhanced revenue stream.
“Whilst revenue for compliance will still be there, there will also be the opportunity to generate an additional advice revenue stream,” he said.
“Undoubtedly the costs to accountants of giving advice in the SMSF space will increase under the new regime. Separating the cost of the strategy advice – which presents real value to the client – from the cost of compliance is a great opportunity for accountants to further move into the value-based fee space.”
The group believe independence afforded to accountants by the Limited Licence is important to remember.
“A Limited Licence offers accountants independence in the way they continue to operate their business,” Ms Lazarescu said. “They will not be interposing a faceless institution between themselves and their client, for example a bank or a bank-owned dealer group. They retain full control on how they operate their business, the type of clients they choose and how they use their referral arrangements and networks. They will be able to sell and expand or contract their business as they choose, and also appoint other accountants to work under their licence. By comparison, an authorisation under someone else’s licence doesn’t usually offer the same level of autonomy.”
The group said accountants did not need to rush into authorisation arrangements with other licensees.
Ms Lazarescu said there have been suggestions that accountants cannot deal with the new compliance regime, and cannot integrate new processes into their operations by 1 July next year, but the reality is that accountants already live in a world of compliance.
Ms Basnec said: “We expect that with the right tools and guidance most accounting practices will be able to manage these requirements on their own with limited external compliance assistance along the way.”
However, the team said it was a good time for accountants to get their house in order.
“Our view is that if you are considering your own licence, act now,” Ms Lazarescu said. “Get some independent advice, check out if you have the right industry training and start the process. Time isn’t waiting and neither will ASIC, or your competitors for that matter.”
For more information contact:
Mobile: 0401 825 988
Accountants are currently exempt from licensing by ASIC and are able to advise their clients on Self Managed Super Funds (SMSF). This will change when the exemption expires on 1 July 2016. A new type of Australian financial services licence called a ‘Limited Licence’ has been introduced to deal with advisors, including accountants, who only want to advise on SMSF and related strategies, without giving advice on specific financial products such as shares, unit trusts etc. In addition, those accountants credentialed with public accounting bodies (CAANZ, CPA or IPA) who meet the ‘recognised accountants’ definition, will not need to prove their prior experience in a licensed environment. This is usually a critical element of any licence application to ASIC.
About Andra Lazarescu
Andra Lazarescu is a financial services lawyer working from Melbourne, for clients all over Australia and internationally. For the last 16 years, she has advised business ranging from blue chip listed investment companies, brokers, asset managers, fund managers and financial planners, and guided them successfully on their licensing quest with ASIC. She also advises on a range of other legal issues commonly faced by businesses in this space, including authorisation agreements between licensees and authorised representatives.
Jenny, based in Adelaide, is a compliance expert with more than 30 years experience in the financial services industry, including nine years in-house for a boutique dealer group. Her ability to integrate compliance requirements into practice management is outstanding and well proven.
Mobile: 0417 430 038
Gary has been in the financial services industry for 35 years. During that time he has held a wide variety of roles including AFSL Dealership General Management. Gary has spent the past 12 years as an independent mentor and coach to financial planners, business development teams, practice management teams and AFSL holders. Gary has an excellent non-conflicted platform to guide advisers along the pathway to building a strong, sustainable future for themselves and their clients.
Mobile: 0400 089 013