Accounting, ASIC, Compliance

Unlicensed accountants get new documentation tool

Specialised SMSF training firm Smarter SMSF has joined forces with Licensing for Accountants to launch a documentation tool for unlicensed accountants, allowing them to provide execution-only services without providing advice.

The tool is best practice, current and will be regularly updated, with legal sign-off by financial services law firm Holley Nethercote.

The documents can be created with an inbuilt workflow and can be integrated with Class Super and BGL’s Simple Fund 360.

Smarter SMSF chief executive Aaron Dunn told a webinar today to launch the tool that accountants have started to tread carefully, “almost on eggshells”, around what they can and cannot tell their SMSF clients.

The documentation tool involves a three-step process that will allow the unlicensed accountant to tell their clients to seek advice from a licensed adviser, perhaps through a referral, provide them with fact sheets and other types of information to arm them with the knowledge required to make a decision, and then implement the strategy based on the client’s instructions and provide them with a confirmation of the execution.

The accountant should also consider other obligations, such as those involving transfer balance account reporting requirements at the time of confirmation of execution, Dunn said.

“Make clear you’re acting on instructions,” he said.

“The requirement to get that form completed is critically important to go on to the next step. Give them an opportunity to seek licensed advice, then ensure if they’re going to decline and accept advice, give information to support them in making that decision.

“Make clear you’re simply acting on instructions and therefore in an execution-only environment.”

The client needs to sign the documentation, acknowledging they understand the services they are receiving and that they are solely receiving execution-only services without any reference to considered advice, he said.

“If you follow the framework and the learnings, you are staying on the right side of the fence in respect to compliance with the Corporations Act in what you can and can’t say,” he said.

“The documents have been drafted in a way to ensure they have considered all the elements that ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) believe are critical in providing services on a basis which are execution only, that the clients have sought guidance from you as a professional that may or should have included a referral, that they have either accepted or declined that referral, and in essence asked you to continue in any event, [and] you’ve confirmed that that’s the case and then ultimately move on.”

The Create (Comply) product gives unlicensed accountants access to various letters covering off SMSF topics including establishing new SMSFs, pension commencement, annual pension amounts including above minimum pension amounts, lump sum and partial commutation, death benefit nominations, and investment strategy.

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