The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has taken action against eight SMSF auditors, resulting in the disqualification of five auditors and an additional three auditors having conditions imposed on their registrations.
The corporate watchdog stated it took the action between 1 April 2023 and 30 June 2023 after receiving referrals from the ATO and another undisclosed government body.
“ASIC has acted against eight SMSF auditors for breaches of their obligations. This included breaches of auditing and assurance standards, independence requirements, registration conditions or because ASIC was satisfied the individual was not a fit and proper person to remain registered,” the regulator stated.
Specifically, it stated Paul Barry, Stephen Funder, Bruce Jones, Gregory Leggett and Malcolm Orman were disqualified from being auditors and are now listed on ASIC’s public banned and disqualified register and are not eligible to reapply for registration. Funder has subsequently applied to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for the disqualification decision to be reviewed.
Additionally, Toby Dodd, Mark Gregson and Clayton Lawrence had specific, additional requirements placed on their registrations. These requirements consist of having their auditing activities independently reviewed and completing compulsory additional professional development and the auditor competency exam, as well as fulfilling added reporting responsibilities when informing the ATO.
ASIC commissioner Danielle Press emphasised the corporate watchdog will continue to take action against SMSF auditors failing to meet their obligations under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act, as evidenced by the recent cancellation of the registrations of 413 auditors during its compliance program.
“In the last year, ASIC has acted against 26 SMSF auditors who failed to meet the independence and auditing standards or whose conduct called into question the integrity of SMSF audits,” Press said.
“The SMSF sector holds more than $865 billion in assets in over 600,000 funds and it is crucial that SMSF auditors comply with their regulatory obligations. ASIC will continue to take action where the conduct of SMSF auditors is inadequate.”