AAT supports ASIC auditor ban

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has sustained the corporate regulator’s decision to disqualify Abe Samuel from being an approved SMSF auditor after breaching independence requirements and being deemed unfit to perform his duties.

On 9 September, the AAT found Samuel “plainly breached the auditor independence requirements” in “APES 110: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants” and as a consequence, he contravened his professional obligations under section 128F of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act.

The tribunal was satisfied Samuel “failed to carry out or perform adequately and properly the duties of an auditor under the act or the regulations or as otherwise required by law; and, furthermore or alternatively, the applicant, Samuel, is not a fit and proper person to be an approved SMSF auditor for the purposes of the act”.

It said it upheld the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) decision due to the very serious and fundamental nature of Samuel’s deficiencies, his long-standing and ongoing failure to properly understand those deficiencies, and the clear need to uphold the integrity of the SMSF system.

In response to the AAT’s announcement, ASIC commissioner John Price said: “To safeguard the SMSF sector, ASIC will continue to use its power to disqualify approved SMSF auditors that don’t perform their role adequately and meet professional standards.”

Information about Samuel was initially referred to ASIC by the ATO.

ASIC disqualified Samuel, of New South Wales, from being an approved SMSF auditor on 2 December 2015.

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