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Accountants shy away from SMSF licensing

A new report suggests thousands of accountants will not be authorised to provide SMSF advice after the June 30 expiration of the accountants' exemption.

According to Investment Trends' 2016 SMSF Accountants Report, only 1,000 accountants have successfully got their licensing arrangements in place, through either a full or limited AFSL, in the past 12 months.

Investment Trends said this means there are 5,500 accountants who are now appropriately licensed to provide SMSF advice beyond June 30.

Recent reports from ASIC have shown that the take-up of the limited licence option, which involves an accountant obtaining their own AFSL, is slow.

Only 149 applications were approved as of May 23 this year.

"Despite the deadline being only a month away, there are still 12,500 accountants who want to operate under a full or limited AFS licence but who haven't completed the qualification process," Investment Trends senior analyst King Loong Choi said.

The research also found that there are 9,000 accountants who have decided not to become licensed, and will instead rely on referral relationships for their SMSF clients.


Further, Investment Trends noted that those accountants who are moving into the licensing regime will be more involved in providing investment advice to their SMSF clients.

"There is a huge opportunity for accountants to grow their SMSF revenues and broaden their proposition to SMSF clients by making the move to provide investment advice," Mr Choi said.