The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has issued a warning to accountants offering financial advice on self-managed superannuation funds (SMSF) that they could face regulatory action if they do not have a license to do so by 1 July 2016.
The corporate watchdog said that accountants will be unable to offer such advice till they receive a limited Australian financial services (AFS) licence or become an authorised representative of a licence-holder or licensee.
The move follows a three-year transition period that started on 1 July 2013.
On 25 August 2015, the regulator warned that accountants who failed to lodge applications for the limited AFS license in line with ASIC’s requirements by 1 March 2016 were unlikely to get their application assessed and approved by 30 June 2016.
In the event of the regulator receiving an application but not approving a licence by then, the applicant would be barred from offering financial product advice on SMSFs.
The regulator has now asked SMSF accountants to prepare a backup plan if their limited AFS licences are not approved by the regulator by 30 June.
ASIC senior executive leader, assessment & intelligence, Warren Day said: "Providing unlicensed financial services is a criminal offence." Day added that any accountant offering unlicensed advice after 30 June 2016 could face regulatory action.
At present, the regulator is assessing over 300 applications for a limited AFS licence.