Licensee experiencing surge in applications

An SMSF licensee is experiencing a surge in accountants applying for a restricted licence in order to continue providing SMSF advice before the accountants’ licensing exemption is removed in July.

The SMSF Advisers Network, the AFSL of the National Tax and Accounting Association (NTAA), offers accountants looking to continue providing SMSF advice after July authorisation under a restricted licence.

The licence has been up and running for approximately 18 months, and while the uptake initially was “not huge”, in the last four months the licensee has experienced a significant increase in inquiries and applications, NTAA chief executive Geoff Boxer told ifa sister publication SMSF Adviser.

Also speaking to SMSF Adviser, SMSF Advisers Network authorised representative administrator John Hondros said the “biggest hurdle” accountants are facing in the application process is getting the RG 146 requirements appropriately sorted.

Accountants should be aware that being degree-qualified does not exclude them from completing further courses or studies, Mr Hondros said.

If accountants have completed RG 146 in the past, it’s important that they produce adequate evidence of their ongoing CPD register, to recognise prior learning. This is also a problem area in the application process, he said.

Overall, the number of accountants who have sought their own limited licence remains significantly smaller than initial predictions, with ASIC telling SMSF Adviser earlier this month it had received 494 applications for a limited AFSL and approved 100.

In line with broader industry consensus, Holley Nethercote partner David Court believes the authorised representative model is proving more popular with accountants than seeking their own licence.

He noted the significant interest from the accounting community in CPA’s licensing offer, which at the time of writing is yet to be fully operational.

“Rather than leaving the SMSF industry, which I don’t think [accountants] want to do because it’s such a core part of their business, they are finding people who have got a licence who will appoint them as authorised reps,” Mr Court said.

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