The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has confirmed it is preparing to conduct shadow shopping activities this year, as part of its assessment of the advice being offered to the SMSF sector.
“We have particular areas of focus in the next few months and this year, one being the ongoing work that we’re doing to lift the standards of advice and to focus on areas where we believe there might be risks of poor advice,” ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell told the SMSF Association 2017 National Conference in Melbourne today.
“And as part of that we’ll have a major project this year on advice given to SMSFs.
“We’ll be looking in particular at advice that’s been given recently, such as advice around establishing an SMSF or advice that’s currently in play, and as part of that we’ll be doing a shadow shop of the sector to get a real time, on the ground picture of the sort of advice that’s been offered to people out there when it comes to SMSFs.”
Kell explained that ASIC wanted to get a sense of what areas were working well and not so well in SMSF advice.
“We’ll obviously communicate with you about that, and we’re now getting some useful data from the ATO in order to target [our activities] effectively,” he said.
“So that’s going to be one of the main areas of work for us in the advice space in 2017.
“It will help us get a picture of what’s being said [in the marketplace] because it’s sometimes difficult to get that complete picture just from files.”
Kell added the corporate regulator had recently fielded complaints from businesses that believed they were shadow shopped but he clarified that ASIC’s activities had not yet commenced.