A collective of industry bodies, such as Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ), the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) and the Financial Planning Association, have collaborated and formulated a potential solution to the limited licensing regime applying to the provision of financial advice, which has been widely recognised by practitioners as unworkable.
CAANZ advocacy and international group executive Simon Grant revealed the work has been done to find a solution for accountants who are specialising in the SMSF space, but stipulated it was not with a view to reintroduce the accountants’ exemption.
“What we want [government] to do is think about the definition of the qualified accountant as a member of one of the major accounting bodies who also operates with a certificate of public practice, and that comes with a whole lot of responsibility around conduct, ethics, training, so again that gives you a very nice piece of the trusted advice that you’re likely to get,” Grant told delegates during an industry reform discussion panel at the SMSF Association National Conference 2022 in Adelaide last week.
“You have to be registered as a registered tax agent with the TPB (Tax Practitioners Board) and again that comes with a level of rigour and protection as well. And we want those people who have been listed on the FAR (Financial Advisers Register) over the last two years to be incorporated into this regime.
“But we’re also saying you need to be trained in a special self-managed super fund training environment provided by us [or] provided by the [SMSF Association] or provided by anyone who actually wants to run an education program.
“So that would help all of our people caught up in the limited licence piece.”
Fellow panellist IPA advocacy and policy group executive Vicki Stylianou reinforced Grant’s description of the initiative.
“Essentially what we’ve tried to do conceptually with the proposal that Simon has already outlined is to say that certain types of work around setting up and winding up SMSFs, pensions and contributions for existing super funds, those sort of constrained particular pieces of advice, to take them out of the ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission)/Corporations Act regime,” Stylianou said.
“[Also] to say that when they are given by suitably qualified tax agents with the extra qualifications in the ordinary course of their tax agent services, then those pieces of advice actually are really tax agent services and tax agent advice. So that’s all we’re doing.”
According to Grant, the proposal includes a draft piece of legislation to make adoption of the measure easier.
“We’ve taken this idea to both sides [of politics] so whoever comes out the other side of May 21, who knows what that’s likely to be, [and told them] we’ve actually got a plan in place to help you guys, in the short term, to get through this piece,” he said.