Home' SMSF Professionals Association of Australia : SPAA Yearbook 2013 Contents 22.SPAA.2013
Many of the occupations
directly related to
to SMSF trustees
have had major adjustments to
the education requirements and
processes that they are required to
hold, and to continue to undertake, in
order to remain in the SMSF eld.
The raft of changes was pretty
constant throughout the year, so it's
a good time now to re ect on each of
these 2013 issues, and to contemplate
what might lie ahead.
REGISTRATION (of SMSF
Over 7000 auditors have registered
with the Australian Securities
and Investment Commission
(ASIC) to formalise their service
of being an SMSF auditor. With
this registration came a twofold
education requirement: rstly, to
provide evidence of their initial audit
education; and, secondly, to commit
to ongoing continuing professional
development (CPD) in a component
speci cally focused on SMSF.
On the topic of initial education
and quali cations for auditors, as yet,
the higher education sector has not
moved to incorporate focus on the
Superannuation Industry Supervision
Act (SIS Act) in their audit curriculum
-- be it a specialist stream or even a
single topic on the subject.
A comprehensive understanding of
the SIS Act is an integral component
of being an SMSF auditor, and
registration is now a requirement to
undertake work in this area. Hence,
we would suggest that SMSFs -- and,
speci cally, an understanding of
the SIS Act, including compliance
-- be incorporated into the content
of undergraduate programs being
o ered to budding SMSF auditors.
On the CPD front, the range of
opportunities available for SMSF
auditors has been limited to a number
of key providers in the marketplace.
We are already seeing an emergence
of new education providers moving
into the SMSF audit education space
in order to provide solutions to this
regulatory need for thousands of
SMSF audit professionals.
We also anticipate that, given the
additional regulatory oversight being
provided to audits, the ATO and ASIC
will identify the common issues and
opportunities that they are witnessing
in their monitoring processes.
We know from our members that
they are genuinely interested in
hearing about this type of feedback,
as highlighting the strengths and
areas for improvement is of overall
bene t to the audit services available.
REMOVAL (of the
Since the inception of the Financial
Services Reform (FSR) in the early part
of the decade, accountants have been
able to establish and operate SMSFs
for trustees outside of an Australian
Financial Services Licence (AFSL).
Some relished this exclusion, while
others wanted to do more for their
clients, but knew they were, or would
be, potentially breaching compliance
by overstepping the exemption line.
The introduction of a limited
licence in July this year has enabled
accountants and other nancial
services professionals to elect to
formally operate in the SMSF strategic
advice area, and broaden the services
and types of advice that they are able
to provide to their clients.
For some accountants, the limited
license has provided an opportunity to
legitimise what they may have been
quietly doing for years; for others, it
has enabled them to contemplate new
o erings that they may be able to add
to their suite of services.
The current exemption will remain
in place until June 2016, and will run
parallel with the new limited licence
so that accountants have some time
to research their options, consider
their business models and then
decide which avenue is right for them.
The three-year transition will also
provide time for those individuals
who are entering the "licensed/AFSL"
environment for the rst time to
undertake the necessary entry-level
compliance training -- namely, to
obtain their RG146 -- in the areas in
which they wish to provide strategic
advice. It will also give them time to
get their minds around the initiatives
that the nancial advice reform --
Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) --
brought with it in July this year.
Operating a business and providing
nancial advice under a "regime" is a
new adventure for many accountants.
The terminology and language is as
foreign as the various regulations
and compliance aspects of an AFSL
and FoFA, and it will take time for the
accountant to adjust and incorporate
these new processes and expectations
into their business.
So, what are the opportunities that
this new licence can bring?
The new licence will formally enable
accountants to shift their businesses
into the strategic SMSF advice space,
and to add new client-servicing
avenues to their businesses. This
strategic advice may include helping
clients to build strategies to deal
with contributions, creating SMSF
pension plans where multi-pension,
intergenerational or blended family
2013 -- the year of the
Registrations, removals and regulations -- these three words sum up
2013's education-related events for SMSF professionals pretty succinctly.
BY LIZ WARD, HEAD OF EDUCATION, SPAA
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