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Accountants uncertain on future AFSL arrangements: survey

A majority of accountants remain undecided about which licensing option to take so they can continue to provide SMSF advice to their clients, a survey by Perpetual Private has found.

According to the survey, 72 per cent of accountants have not started their licence application or made a firm decision about which licensing path to pursue.

These findings are in line with figures released by ASIC in November which showed the regulator has received just 204 applications for a limited licence, Perpetual Private said.

As the 1 July 2016 date for the phase-out of the accountants' exemption looms, accountants really need to "start planning their future licensing arrangements now", said Perpetual Private national manager of alliance partners, Dermot Lindsay.

"Preparation for the change, no matter which path you choose, can take several months," Mr Lindsay said.

"It's important to recognise if you don't get the wheels in motion by the end of the year, you're going to face serious challenges in 2016."

Earlier this year, Perpetual Private partnered with boutique financial services law firm The Fold Legal to offer accountants a licensing solution ahead of the end to the exemption.


According to Perpetual Private, the program helps accountants retain their "independence and extend their advisory capabilities".

"Many accountants are fiercely passionate about their independence and they are looking for a solution which allows them to retain this," Mr Lindsay said.

"Accountants have a well-earned reputation as trusted advisers, with many clients turning to them for guidance around their SMSFs, and it would be a shame for many accountants to miss out on the opportunity to continue this important service and the potential for further business growth by failing to get a licence before the deadline.

"As the Christmas wind-down is upon us, I'd urge all accountants who are yet to act to think about what is right for their business and prepare for the change ahead."