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ASIC intent on fast licensing process

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has declared its intentions to process any licensing applications from accountants before 1 March 2016 in the most timely manner possible.

ASIC senior manager Trevor Clarke told the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) National SMSF Conference 2015, the corporate regulator was determined not to delay applications received before 1 March next year so those practitioners who had adhered to the suggested time frame were not unduly disadvantaged.

“The situation now is all about lodging the application. If there were gaps in the application process and information wasn’t provided, I’d hope it could be picked up quite quickly by our process,” Clarke told the conference on the Gold Coast last week.

“That’s the whole point of triaging stuff as it comes through the front door – to get everyone moving in the right direction – then when all the checks and balances have to be done, you know you’ve got what you need, it’s just a matter of whether it’s sufficient.

“So hopefully there is a much quicker turnaround on things that are missing.

“But if you’re in the front door and you’re having that process satisfied and assessed, that would be the key.”

CAANZ head of financial advisory services Hugh Elvy added practitioners had to incorporate a high degree of proactivity if the regulator made a request for more information to accompany a licensing application in order facilitate speed of process.

“If ASIC comes back and send you an email and say we need some more information or need some clarification, and you leave it for three or four days and then it’s the weekend and ASIC look at it and say it’s not right, then all of a sudden you can almost add 10 days to two weeks to the process,” Elvy warned.

He said a particular member involved in the processes responded to any requests from ASIC on the same day and recommended that was the best approach.

To the end of August, ASIC had only received 161 limited Australian financial services licence applications, of which 70 had been approved, seven were under assessment, 82 had been withdrawn by the applicant, one had been withdrawn due to matters not disclosed to the regulator, and one had successfully transitioned from a limited to a full licence.

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