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Accountants and financial advice



The 'accountants' exemption' which allows accountants to provide advice on the establishment of self-managed superannuation funds (SMSF), without the need for an Australian financial services licence (AFS licence) will cease on 1 July 2016.

To replace this exemption, accountants (and other advisers) can apply for a 'limited' AFS licence from 1 July 2013. Those applying for this new limited AFS licence will be able to apply for authorisations to provide financial advice on SMSFs and class of product advice about:
Included within the definition of 'limited financial services' is the authorisation to arrange to deal in an interest in an SMSF.


Supporting documents


List pointer INFO 179 Applying for a limited AFS licence Opens internal window
List pointer Professional indemnity insurance questionnaire  (21KB)
List pointer Regulatory Guide 1: AFS Licensing Kit: Part 1- Applying for and varying an AFS licence (191KB)
List pointer Regulatory Guide 2: AFS Licensing Kit: Part 2- Preparing your AFS licence application (553KB)
List pointer Download the sample online application   (204KB)
List pointer For more information, see Supporting documents Opens internal window


Who can apply?


Although any person can apply for the limited AFS licence, applicants whose responsible managers are recognised accountants and who apply between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2016, will be able to take advantage of transitional arrangements that apply to recognised accountants. It is important that you understand the definition of a 'recognised accountant'.

Individuals, bodies corporate or partnerships seeking to lodge an application for a 'limited' AFS licence seeking authorisations to provide 'limited' financial services, read more information about the eligibility requirements. INFO 179 Applying for a limited AFS licence Opens internal window


Advice for trustees



Sole trustees

If you are the sole trustee of a trust with an ABN, there are some particular guidelines you need to follow when making your application. ASIC cannot accept an application for an AFS licence for an entity that is sole trustee of a trust under the trustee’s ABN (e.g. an ABN corresponding to THE TRUSTEE FOR XXXX TRUST).

So, if you are a sole trustee, when prompted in the application form to select whether you are applying for an AFS licence as an individual, partnership, company, trustee of a trust or ‘other’ entity, rather than selecting ‘trustee of a trust’ you should select they type of entity corresponding to the trustee itself—for example:
Partnerships and multiple trustees

A partnership of trustees can also apply for a limited AFS licence. e.g. THE TRUSTEE FOR XXXX TRUST & THE TRUSTEE FOR XXXX TRUST. In this case the entity type selected for the application is ‘partnership’. The applicant should enter ABN of the partnership on the application form at question A0.2 and select A1.1.2.

A multiple trustee is a notional person that consists of two or more trustees of a single trust. A multiple trustee can apply for a limited AFS licence. e.g. THE TRUSTEES FOR THE XXXX TRUST. In this case the entity type selected for the application is ‘trustees of a trust’. The applicant should enter ABN of the multiple trustee e.g. THE TRUSTEES FOR THE XXXX TRUST on the application form at question A0.2 and select A1.1.4 (Trustees of a trust - a collection of persons who act together as trustee of a trust.)

To enable ASIC to determine that there are multiple trustees, please include a covering letter with the application, explaining the multiple trustee structure. Please also include a description of the multiple trustee structure in the A5 Business Description proof.


Reform timeline



1 July 2013Three year transition period begins
30 June 2016Transition period ends
1 July 2016Exemption removed and recommendation to establish an SMSF becomes strictly licensed advice


Applicants whose nominated responsible managers are not recognised accountants


Applicants for a limited AFS licence seeking authorisations to provide 'limited financial services' who are not 'recognised accountants' or who do not have proposed responsible managers who are 'recognised accountants' will be assessed under the standard AFS licence application process.

List pointer Guidance note for non joint accounting bodies (55KB)
List pointer AFS licensing Opens internal window


How do I apply?


Step 1: Apply for a 'limited' AFS licence online through the FS portal
Step 2: Submit your proofs, including a signed print out of the FS01 by email to licensing.afslproofs@asic.gov.au
Step 3: Ensure payment of the application fee has been made
Step 4: A licensing analyst will be assigned to your application
Step 5: The analyst responsible for your application will be in touch with you to introduce themselves


What happens after your application is lodged and payment is received?


Once we receive your application, supporting documentation and payment has been made, we will assess your application.

If we make a preliminary decision to approve your application, a letter of offer will be sent to you along with:
An application for a limited AFS licence will only be approved when all items listed above have been provided to ASIC.


Compliance


List pointer For more information, see Financial Services Compliance. Opens internal window


Training


List pointer For more information, see Financial Services Training. Opens internal window


Your professional body may provide you with additional information and assistance, For more information, go to:

List pointer Supporting documents Opens internal window
List pointer Other Government reforms related to FOFA Opens new window
List pointer Future of Financial advice Opens internal window
List pointer AFS licensing Opens internal window

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