Applications for a limited licence have continued to remain low, according to statistics released today by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), which also revealed the corporate regulator was still processing applications from mid-2016 at the end of 2017.
ASIC released the statistics as part of its overview of licensing and professional registration applications for 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, with the report stating 23 limited licenses were approved during that period, despite 41 applications being received and 75 applications being finalised.
According to the ASIC report, 46 limited licence applications were withdrawn and a further six refused during 2017/18, which was also the period for the lowest level of limited licence approvals since July to December 2015, in which 25 licence applications were approved.
The application report also showed ASIC received 899 limited licence applications in the period from January to June 2016, but only finalised 324 applications during that time and continued to finalise the remainder throughout 2016 and 2017.
For the July to December 2016 period, ASIC reported it received only 25 applications, but finalised 324, approving 203 applications, and for the January to June 2017 period it received 24 applications, finalising 357 and approving 304, while for the July to December 2017 period it received 27 applications, finalising 58 and approving 23.
ASIC also noted a high level of cancellations among SMSF auditors for the July 2017 to June 2018 period, during which it cancelled 396 registrations compared to 98 approved registrations.
The regulator said 278 of the cancellations were at the request of the SMSF auditor and attributed many of those to a change in career or retirement of an auditor, while 118 were the result of auditors failing to meet their obligations, including a failure to comply with the conditions of their registration, a failure of comply with the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act or a failure to lodge an annual statement.
Collectively, ASIC considered 2879 applications during 2017/2018, with 60 per cent relating to Australian financial services licence (AFSL) applications, 29 per cent relating to Australian credit licence applications and the remaining 11 per cent relating to professional auditor registrations.
Of the 2879 total applications, 48 per cent, or 1383, were approved and of those approvals 44 per cent were AFSL approvals and 52 per cent were credit licence approvals.