The SMSF Association (SMSFA) has confirmed it has joined with three accounting bodies to formulate a new licensing regime that will reduce the complexity involved in individual practitioners being able to provide financial advice to consumers.
The three accounting bodies – Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and CPA Australia – had already agreed to work together on the initiative earlier this month, but at the IPA National Congress in Adelaide last week, IPA chief executive Andrew Conway said the SMSFA and Financial Planning Association had also joined the discussion.
This was confirmed by the SMSFA, in comments supplied to selfmanagedsuper, which stated: “Regulatory complexity is not an issue unique to the accounting profession, but rather a growing issue for all professionals providing financial advisory services to their clients, including small business and SMSFs.
“With a shared view to improve the accessibility and affordability of quality financial advice, the Financial Planning Association and SMSF Association are working together with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, CPA Australia and the Institute of Public Accountants to advocate for reform that reduces complexity, improves efficiency and drives harmonisation to better enable the provision of affordable, accessible and high-quality customer-centric advice to business and individuals.”
It also pointed out the increasing cost of financial advice was a major factor preventing many Australians from engaging with their choice of adviser and “it is time to consider the factors driving up these costs and how they can be reduced, while still ensuring the client is engaged, informed and protected in the process”.
Speaking at the conference, Conway said the last time the joint accounting bodies met was in July 2012 and “we have seen the consequences of that”.
“We represent the voice of more than 270,000 professionals and we are saying to the government ‘that matters’ and we want to make sure the government respects that voice,” he said.