Angst over costly ASIC funding

Practitioners in the industry have voiced their worries over the high increase in registration fees in order to fund the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), according to one institutional body.

“You may have seen that what’s been proposed is that the fee for an SMSF auditor registration goes from $129 up to $3500 – it’s a one-off fee for new auditors,” Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) leadership executive general manager Vicki Stylianou told the recent IPA Victoria Congress in Lorne.

“If you’re already an SMSF auditor, it’s not going to affect you. But it’s a pretty dramatic increase.

“We’ve had a lot of consultation around whether this is appropriate and after a lot of analysis and looking at the financials, ASIC makes over $900 million a year for the government, but that money goes into consolidated revenue and the government then gives ASIC back about $400 million to operate, if not less.

“So that’s why ASIC’s moved to a ‘user-pays’ funding model and I’ve had a lot of queries from members about it. It’s causing a lot of angst for some people.”

Stylianou predicted the cost of industry compliance and regulation will only continue to increase, which was a concern for the IPA and its practitioner members.

“And it’s being passed on more and more to the private sector, so things you didn’t previously pay for, you now have to pay for,” she said, adding the scrutiny of the industry by regulators was increasing.

“With SMSFs, for example, the government still sees a systemic risk in SMSFs, which means they’ve got to make sure that compliance is happening.

“And our job [at the IPA] is to also ensure that compliance is happening, and I think that’s an ongoing trend we’ll continue to see.”

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