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Replacement of the “accountants’ exemption” – The limited licence regime


The so-called “accountants’ exemption”, by which “recognised accountants” have been exempt from the requirement either to hold an Australian financial services licence (AFSL) or to be an authorised representative of a licence holder when providing advice relating to the acquisition or disposal of interests in self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs), is to be withdrawn with effect from 1 July 2016. In order to continue to provide advice in respect of SMSFs after 1 July 2016, accountants will need to be licensed. Accountants will have three options: to operate under the new limited financial services licence, which is available from 1 July 2013; to operate under a full AFSL; or to cease to provide SMSF advice to clients.

This article considers the scope of the new limited licence, and discusses practical considerations relating to a licensee’s back office under the new licensing regime, including audit obligations, consumer dispute resolution and training requirements.

Author profiles:

Mark Halsey is a Solicitor with Halsey & Associates and has extensive practice relating to FSR issues. Prior to becoming admitted, he was involved in the funds management and insurance industries including three years as a private client adviser with stockbrokers Saw James. He was also State Financial Planning Manager - MLC Financial Planning Services in WA. Mark advises a wide range of clients in financial series, corporation law, insurance and banking issues and has provided legal services and training series to a broad range of organisations. During 2001 Mark jointly conducted the national compliance review of dealer groups Securitor and PACT, in conjunction with international law firm Minter Ellison. Halsey & Associates was established in 2000.

Current at 31 October 2003 Current at 19 March 2010

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