ASIC, ATO, Compliance

ASIC sanctions 11 SMSF auditors

ASIC disqualification SMSF auditors

ASIC has taken enforcement measures against 11 registered SMSF auditors, resulting in the disqualification of three practitioners during the September quarter.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has continued its focus on the compliance standards of SMSF auditors with recent enforcement action taken against 11 registered practitioners.

Between 1 July 2023 and 30 September 2023, the corporate regulator disqualified three SMSF auditors, cancelled the registrations of three more and imposed additional conditions on the registrations of five practitioners.

The enforcement measures have been imposed for a range of breaches, including cases where ASIC deemed an individual unsuitable to continue as a registered auditor, as well as instances of non-compliance with auditing and assurance standards, independence requirements and registration conditions.

The individuals who have been disqualified from practising as SMSF auditors are Carlo Celisano, Eamon Lynch and Brian Townhill. They are now ineligible to reapply for the reinstatement of their registrations and have been publicly listed on ASIC’s banned and disqualified register.

Additional conditions regarding their registration were imposed on Anthony Boys, Laurence Carwardine, Gurjeet Singh, Bruno Sternberg and Mark Turner. These supplementary obligations range from further professional training, resitting and successfully completing the SMSF auditor competency exam, undergoing independent reviews of SMSF audit records and related tools, templates and procedures, and conducting assessments of independence threats and safeguards.

Jeffrey Leahy, James Ulrich and Lou Varalla had their auditor registrations cancelled, with the ATO referring all 11 of the above individuals to ASIC for violating their obligations.

“SMSF auditors have a critical role in upholding the integrity of the SMSF sector through annual audits. They oversee over 610,000 SMSFs, representing more than $875 billion in funds. SMSF auditors play an essential role in supporting confidence in the SMSF sector and ASIC will continue to take action where their conduct is inadequate,” ASIC deputy chair Sarah Court said.

In the previous quarter, ASIC took enforcement action against eight SMSF auditors for failing to satisfy their obligations.

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