Accountants are fuming that FASEA’s latest round of mandatory education guidelines don’t make significant distinction between their profession and financial advisers.
The incoming standards recognise a bachelor’s degree in accounting as related education, but those accountants with postgraduate qualifications will still likely be required to complete bridging courses by 2024.
Accounting bodies like Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ), which runs the popular CA Program for postgraduate studies, are in talks with FASEA at the moment about recognising accountants’ “significant” training compared with planners in its new guidelines.
“Generally speaking, accountants who have operated in this area have done it for a long time. Those people with 20-plus years’ experience should be recognised as having different credentials to someone that has just got a degree and RG146,” said CA ANZ senior policy adviser Bronny Speed.
“Surely those years and those extras equate to something.”
FASEA also makes no distinction between the mandated education minimums for accountants operating under a limited versus a full AFSL. This means accountants providing basic SMSF advice will, as it stands, have to meet the same requirements as an accountant or financial planner offering holistic advice.
Licensing consultants like Jeremy Danon, director at Ariel and Associates, think this line of thinking is out of step with how accountants approach and provide SMSF advice in particular.
“I believe that it is important to distinguish between those ‘financial advisers’ operating under a limited AFSL,” Mr Danon said.
“Recommending and organising the creation of an SMSF is part of an accountant’s duties and responsibilities in regard to the financial health and wellbeing of a client. It is the accountant who recommends whether a client’s business or activities would operate best under a trust, SMSF, company or sole trader structure.
“For something that was traditionally their domain, accountants are being lumped with all other financial planners with no exemption or grandfathering relief.”
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