Wealth manager Perpetual has made a plea for accountants to make a decision and take action immediately on the licensing option under which they would prefer to operate in 2016.
The new rules dictate accountants wanting to provide advisory services to SMSF clients, including those dealing with fund establishment, must operate under an Australian financial services licence from 1 July 2016.
Further, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has recommended accountants submit their licensing applications by 1 March next year to make sure they will be processed in time.
“In order to meet this deadline, you really need to start planning now,” Perpetual Private alliance partners national manager Dermot Lindsay said.
“Preparation for the change, no matter which path you choose, can take several months.
“It’s important to recognise if you don’t get the wheels in motion by the end of the year, you’re going to face serious challenges in 2016.”
Perpetual’s message comes after a recent survey it conducted indicated 72 per cent of accountants had either not made a firm decision about the licensing path to pursue or had not yet begun their licence application.
The results are in line with ASIC statistics released last month showing only 204 applications had been received from accountants for a limited licence.
“Accountants have a well-earned reputation as trusted advisers, with many clients turning to them for guidance around their SMSFs, and it would be a shame for many accountants to miss out on the opportunity to continue this important service and the potential for further business growth by failing to get a licence before the deadline,” Lindsay said.
“As the Christmas wind-down is upon us, I’d urge all accountants who are yet to act to think about what is right for their business and prepare for the change ahead.”
Lindsay emphasised the need for accountants to ensure they met the education requirements associated with the new licensing regime as ASIC had already rejected 101 applications due to inadequacies.
Earlier this year, Perpetual Private teamed up with legal firm The Fold to provide a licensing service for independent accountants, giving them application support, guidance on policy and procedure, and training regarding regulatory requirements.