$1.6m measure tests scope of advice

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The $1.6 million transfer balance cap is testing the scope of advice for accountants.

Accountants getting the scope of advice right, particularly in relation to the specific issue of the choices around a $1.6 million transfer balance cap excess, has become a key area of inquiry, according to two industry executives.

During the Q&A portion of a recent webinar presented by The SMSF Academy and Licensing for Accountants, The SMSF Academy managing director Aaron Dunn said this area alone posed many questions around whether to roll back to accumulation and the benefits of retaining tax-free money within a pension.

“It seems to be a very specific issue, but it’s also very topical because we’ve had this conversation each and every year with our clients, so it’s important that you get the scoping right,” Dunn warned.

Licensing for Accountants founder Kath Bowler highlighted the biggest change since the licensing regime was introduced, regardless of whether an accountant chose to be licensed or unlicensed, was mastering the art of scoping.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of working out what it is you’re being asked to do [by the client] and then you’ll know if it’s licensed or unlicensed [advice],” Bowler said.

“In the case studies and scenarios that we have been through, there’s been a very narrow scope.

“But that’s also important in demonstrating that you can just do a very narrow piece of advice – it’s not okay all the time, but I think sometimes in the planning world, there’s this view that advice needs to be far more comprehensive.”

She added accountants moving into the licensing space had an advantage here.

“They’re good with dealing with one issue at a time, though they can learn from advisers to broaden that as they can add more value,” she said.

“Another important thing you really need to verify is where a client asks ‘Can I?’, if they’re asking whether they can or whether they should.”

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