ASIC fund establishment focus to intensify

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is likely to increase its scrutiny of the practice of setting up SMSFs in the coming year, according to an industry consultant.

McPherson Super Consulting SMSF specialist Allan McPherson told delegates at the 2017 Institute of Public Accountants National Congress on the Gold Coast last week that ASIC’s activity in this area began with the sending out of questionnaires on SMSF establishments earlier this year.

“We got one about six months ago and I understand other firms have been approached to see if they’ve got any sort of record of the advice given,” McPherson said.

“So ASIC is obviously becoming more active in this space.”

He signalled the corporate regulator’s activity on this topic was not about to diminish in the near future and would in fact be likely to increase in the new year.

“You should expect from 1 July 2018 ASIC becoming more and more active because at that stage they’re going to be starting to charge the industry a fee for various items,” he predicted.

“So be aware ASIC is pretty quiet at the moment, but once they’ve started to get more funding we’ll probably get more activity in that space.”

He identified this as the big regulatory challenge different practitioner groups will have to face up to in the coming months and years.

“This will be [an issue] both for the accounting profession and the financial planning profession,” he said.

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