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ASIC moves against 19 SMSF auditors

ASIC SMSF auditors

A number of ASIC investigations have found 19 SMSF auditors in breach of legal obligations, resulting in cancelled registrations or additional conditions.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has taken action, including deregistering or imposing registration conditions, against 19 SMSF auditors after an investigation supported by the ATO found multiple breaches of obligations.

ASIC noted 12 SMSF auditors have been deregistered and seven others have been hit with additional registration conditions under compliance action that started on 1 July 2021.

The behaviour included breaches of independence requirements, auditing and assurance standards, and registration conditions, or action was taken because ASIC was satisfied the person was not a fit and proper person to remain registered.

Since 1 July 2021, ASIC has disqualified two SMSF auditors, initiated cancellations for two auditors and imposed conditions on seven SMSF auditor registrations, while seven SMSF auditors have voluntarily cancelled their registrations.

Those disqualified are Christopher Baldwin, of Shepparton, Victoria, and Adnan Sibai, of Sydney, who were both disqualified in October 2021.

ASIC-initiated cancellations were given to Yuk Wong, of Gladesville, Sydney, John Campbell, of Kerang, Victoria, and Christopher Sheppard, of South Yarra, Melbourne, in August and September 2021.

Conditions were imposed on the SMSF auditor registrations of Brian Taylor, of Sydney, Ashwin Panchal, of Lansdale, Western Australia, Brian Carroll, of Miranda, Sydney, Ahmed Afifi, of Darlinghurst, Sydney, Sebastian Buccheri, of Carlton, Melbourne, Bernie Trounce, of Noble Park, Melbourne, and Neil Yeoman, of Southbank, Melbourne.

ASIC did not list the names of the seven auditors who undertook voluntary cancellations of their registrations as a negotiated outcome of the investigations regarding their various breaches.

The action follows the corporate watchdog’s commitment to protecting the integrity of SMSF audits, with ASIC commissioner Sean Hughes saying the ethical standards must be adhered to.

“SMSF auditors play a fundamental role in promoting confidence and instilling trust in the SMSF sector, so it is crucial that they adhere to ethical and auditing standards. ASIC will continue to take action where the conduct of SMSF auditors is inadequate and fails to meet the requisite standards,” Hughes said.

In the website update, ASIC noted this action is in addition to action against 18 SMSF auditors that have been involved in reciprocal audit arrangements.

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