Prior to 1 July a recognised accountant was allowed to recommend the establishment or winding up of an interest in a SMSF without being licensed under the Australian Financial Services (AFS) licensing regime. This was known as the accountants’ exemption. However, this exemption was removed from 1 July.Essentially what that means is anyone who advises or deals in financial products or services now need to have an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL). When you’re talking about SMSFs, most advice would be considered ‘financial’ unless it’s related to:
- Accounting or administration
- SMSF compliance with regulations
While that might look quite comprehensive, in reality many of the discussions that need to take place around the establishment of an SMSF are not covered by this list.
Accountants have known that this change was coming for 3 years when the Australian government announced the new regulatory framework. They were given a number of options to undertake some training and either apply to ASIC to hold their own AFS Licence or become authorised under another group’s licence, if they wish to continue to set up a self-managed superannuation funds for clients.
However, recent reports suggest that take-up of licences appears to have been very low. From the perspective of a client looking to set-up (or wind-up) a SMSF my advice would be that, to ensure you get the most comprehensive and trustworthy advice, you establish up-front whether your accountant has obtained the necessary training and authorities to advise you.
SMSF’s continue to be a very popular option for many reasons including:
- having more control over your retirement portfolio
- the opportunity to purchase an investment property leveraging your super fund
- potentially reducing your administration fees
The good news is that Taggart & Partners have obtained a Limited Authority from an AFS Licensee (GPS Wealth Ltd) enabling us to continue to provide our clients with SMSF advice. If you already have a SMSF or are looking to establish an SMSF in the near future, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 07 3391 1188.