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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advice relating to the acquisition or disposal of interests in self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs), is to be withdrawn with effect from 1 July 2016.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

Fiona Halsey
After completing her law degree, Fiona worked as a solicitor at Clayton Utz and then Freehills (now Herbert Smith Freehills). She was subsequently a director and in-house counsel at Ernst & Young. In 2001, Fiona and her husband established Halsey Legal Services. Fiona is also a director of Licensee Solutions Pty Ltd, which specialises in Australian financial services compliance. She has been a State Chairperson, State Councillor, National Councillor and Head of the WA Technical Committee for The Tax Institute. Fiona acts in many professional negligence matters, including disputes about professional indemnity insurance. She acts for complainants and defendants in tribunals and courts. - Current at 15 September 2015
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Mark Halsey
Mark is a Solicitor and co-founder of Halsey Legal Services where he practices financial services law and credit law. Prior to this, Mark worked in several roles in the financial services industry over a period of 18 years, including as WA Financial Services Manager for Aviva, a private client adviser for Saw James stockbrokers, State Compliance Manager - WA, for MLC and the WA Financial Services Manager for GIO Australia and Home Building Society, where he managed the Society's household, commercial and consumer credit insurance departments. Mark is a Senior Fellow of FINSIA, a member of ASIC's Financial Services Consultative Committee, and was a member of the Commonwealth Treasury's Consumer Compensation Roundtable in 2007. - Current at 09 September 2015
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