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Accounting, Financial Planning, Superannuation

Advice bodies join accountant licensing discussion

accountant licensing SMSF advice

The major accounting and advice bodies have entered into joint discussions on reforming the licensing regime for financial advice related to SMSFs.

Two major financial advice bodies have joined high-level discussions with the accountant associations to reform the licensing regime for SMSF related financial advice.

At the opening session of the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) National Congress in Adelaide today, IPA chief executive Andrew Conway said the Financial Planning Association and SMSF Association had taken part in discussions with the IPA, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and CPA Australia aimed at the provision of advice around SMSFs.

The three accounting bodies had already agreed to work together and earlier this month announced a joint approach to dealing with licensing for accountants, as well as reducing the level and complexity of regulations around the provision of financial advice.

Addressing the reason for the joint discussions, Conway said: “This is not about the IPA or a revenue stream for an accounting practice, this is about clients who are not getting the access to advice they should be getting today, and this is not in the national interest.

“We are having ongoing conversations, which is about gathering support, and historically it was difficult to get financial planners involved, but the FPA and SMSF Association have joined with the three accounting bodies and we have a five-pronged voice to government saying this is the right way to go.

“The time has come for the accounting profession, financial planners and SMSF advisers to have a strategic financial advice registration regime, which also gets accountants back into the space and allows them to have a holistic conversation about SMSFs with clients.

“An SMSF is not a financial product. The government needs to step up to the plate and make the changes. The profession and industry are aligned and the government needs to act.”

Speaking to selfmanagedsuper after his presentation, Conway said the discussions were at a high level and still in the early stages.

“There has been an absence of collaboration and our views have been fragmented as the government has waited to see how the Future of Financial Advice reforms will work through and what would happen with limited licensing. Clearly, that has failed and now is the time to act, particularly as we have practitioners leaving the industry,” he said.

“There is a need for an holistic approach to advice which is in the best interests of consumers, which is a common view we all share.”

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