The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has removed 76 SMSF auditors from its register since becoming a co-regulator of the SMSF sector in 2013, according to an ASIC report released today.
The corporate regulator’s enforcement outcomes report for the period 1 January 2018 to 30 June 2018 showed ASIC has examined over 120 matters in relation to SMSF auditors since 2013, including 98 referrals from the ATO.
The report notes out of the 76 SMSF auditors removed from the register, 47 were voluntary cancellations.
Out of the 120 matters it examined, one SMSF auditor was suspended for some time, while 24 others had further conditions imposed on their registrations.
The report also emphasised the importance of auditor independence by citing the case study of Paul Tattersall, who was ordered by ASIC in February to be disqualified from being an approved SMSF auditor after an investigation found he had breached independence requirements.
The corporate watchdog found he had audited his own fund, his spouse’s fund and another fund that had its financial statements prepared by his spouse.
“Before our investigations, three of Mr Tattersall’s SMSF audits had been reviewed by the ATO as part of its ongoing compliance monitoring program,” the report said.
“In December 2017, the ATO referred its findings to ASIC and we obtained a further response from Mr Tattersall.”
Areas ASIC considered for the enforcement actions include 75 cases of non-compliance with independence requirements, 74 cases of non-compliance with auditing standards, 25 cases of fit and proper issues, including false and misleading statements, fraud, insolvency or bankruptcy, and 27 cases of non-compliance with other requirements, such as continuing professional development or professional indemnity requirements.