The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has stressed accountants must take the necessary action to comply with the new licensing rules governing the provision of SMSF advice by the 1 July deadline or suffer the associated punishment.
The corporate regulator has reiterated that accountants must hold a either a limited Australian financial services licence (AFSL) to provide strategic or class-of-product SMSF advice or a full AFSL or become an authorised representative of an existing licensee to provide financial product advice on SMSFs.
Moreover, ASIC is writing to accountants instructing them to make interim arrangements to comply with the new licensing regime if they have applied for a licence after 1 March this year and their application is not approved by 30 June.
In particular, the industry watchdog has stipulated accountants will not be able to provide SMSF-related financial advice if they have not been granted a licence prior to 1 July and will subsequently continue to be ineligible to provide this type of advice until they are granted a licence or have become an authorised representative of a licensee.
ASIC also pointed out accountants who did not comply with the new rules risked having regulatory action taken against them.
“Providing unlicensed financial services is a criminal offence,” ASIC assessment and intelligence senior executive leader Warren Day said.