ASIC has placed a fair warning to accountants wishing to continue to provide SMSF advice post 30 June 2016, to act now; a message that the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) has put to its members for the past few years.

“The IPA has constantly advised accountants that they should consider their future business models in light of Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms,” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.

“We note ASIC’s considerable concern that only 160 applications for a limited Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) have been received and only 70 granted to date.

“If an accountant who does not want to become an authorised representative of an AFSL but wants to continue to provide SMSF advice to their clients, he or she will need a limited license under the FoFA legislation.

“Accountants must also comply with education requirements to enable them to continue in this advice space.

“ASIC has further warned that accountants need to lodge applications tom meet ASIC’s requirements by 1 March 2016 or run the risk of their application not being assessed before the 30 June deadline.

“Accountants must comply with the regulator’s requirements to continue to provide SMSF advice or they will run the risk of facing criminal charges.

“Public Accountants hold the prestigious mantle of trusted adviser and are in the best position to capitalise on the new financial services regime so we are hopeful of a greater and quicker response to the regulator’s requirements,” said Mr Conway.