Accountants’ role omitted from QAR

Quality Advice Review accountants

The SMSF Association has noted the Quality of Advice Review recommendations failed to address the role accountants can play in financial planning.

The SMSF Association has expressed its disappointment that the Quality of Advice Review (QAR) recommendations did not address the role accountants could play in helping to provide financial advice to a greater number of Australians.

“It’s our view that accountants have been left in the cold in this review, despite the fact we have a ready pool of specialists who are ideally placed to fill the crucial advice gap,” SMSF Association chief executive John Maroney noted.

“In the context of improving access to quality advice we would have liked to see a greater focus on the role accountants can play, particularly in the SMSF advice space,” he explained.

According to Maroney the issue of being able to include more accountants in the financial advice arena remains unresolved and has been so for a long period of time as the limited licensing regime proved unsuccessful as did the accountants’ exemption put in place before that.

As such the industry body is aiming to discuss the issue of accountants and advice in more depth at the SMSF Association National Conference to be held in Melbourne next week during a panel session that will include chair of the Quality of Advice Review Michelle Levy, Financial Planning Association of Australia chief executive Sarah Abood and Maroney.

“We expect this issue to be fully aired at the conference,” Maroney said.

One other area in which he disagreed with the QAR report is with regard to the recommendation of not having the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) provide binding rulings like the ATO currently does.

“[The ability for the ATO to give binding rulings] really helps everyone who works in the tax side,” he indicated during a speech made at yesterday’s Actuaries Institute Financial Advice Twilight Seminar held in Sydney.

“I know you’re a big fan of courts [Michelle Levy], and I can understand that, but I think in this case ASIC could do better than what it’s doing,” he concluded.

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