As the cut-off date for accountants to apply for a limited licence to provide SMSF advice looms, concerns are mounting over the small number of applications and approvals.
The latest figures issued to ifa's sister publication SMSF Adviser by the regulator indicate ASIC has received 276 applications for limited licences as of 28 January 2016 and approved 88 limited AFSLs.
The number of limited licence applications submitted to ASIC has increased by 72, up from 204 as reported by SMSF Adviser last year, while the number of approved applications has risen by 10.
SMSF Association head of education Liz Ward said accountants have repeatedly been warned by ASIC that 31 March is the effective cut-off date for those accountants who want limited licences.
“After this date, the regulator is giving no guarantees that there will be sufficient time for accountants to meet the necessary requirements involved in getting an AFS licence,” said Ms Ward.
“Across the industry there is concern and, to some degree, bewilderment about what the thousands of accountants who now advise SMSFs are going to do after 30 June.”
If accountants are not operating under an AFS licence, whether full or limited, or have not established a referral arrangement or joint venture with a party that has an appropriate AFSL, Ms Ward said, they will effectively only be able to provide tax advice to their SMSF clients.
She also warned accountants who are expecting the deadline to be extended that they will be “sorely disappointed”.
“If you haven’t got your plans well underway by now, you have a problem,” she said.