New Financial Year = New rules to protect ALL SMSF Trustees and Members
1 July 2016 is a pivotal date in the Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) landscape.
Any party that now provides specific financial advice in relation to a SMSF MUST hold an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL).
If a licence is not held, advice cannot be provided to members and trustees of a SMSF.
In the past when wanting to establish or manage a SMSF, direct and personal advice has been provided by either a financial adviser or accountant.
Accountants have traditionally assisted with admin functionalities, financial reporting requirements (tax reporting and organising audits) and advice on structural matters and investments.
Financial advisers specifically assist with ALL structural advice like underlying investment selection, stage of operation (Accumulation and/or Pension) and overall structural decisions (contributions, withdrawals, etc.) for SMSF’s.
On 1 July 2013, the Federal Government passed legislation designed to protect Fund members/trustees by declaring that SMSF’s are to be considered a financial product. Therefore, all parties providing advice on financial products need to hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) to do so.
Whilst all financial advisers MUST hold an AFSL from the moment they begin practicing, Accountants don’t need a licence to complete their core functions.
The Federal Government provided a 3-year grace period so that Accountant’s wishing to provide financial advice could complete the relevant training to obtain an AFSL.
The 3-year grace period provided to Accountants expired on 30 June 2016.
MAJOR CHANGES ARE NOW IN FORCE
All Accountants providing specific financial advice in relation to SMSF’s now need to hold a AFSL. If an AFSL is not held, an Accountant can no longer provide specific financial advice to SMSF trustees and members on anything within their SMSF (except for traditional core accounting activities like tax advice and audit organisation).
Whilst some Accountants have obtained an AFSL, many have made the choice not to obtain and hold an AFSL.
“In simple terms, if an Accountant doesn’t hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL), they cannot provide financial advice to you.”