AUSTRALIA’S major accounting bodies have questioned Federal Government moves that limit the ability of accountants to provide advice on superannuation.
CPA Australia, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, the National Institute of Accountants and the Taxation Institute of Australia are concerned about superannuation exemptions under the Financial Services Reform Act.
The professional bodies said that if accountants were not providing ad-vice about a particular superannuation fund or particular investments, then that advice did not constitute financial product advice and should not require an Australian Financial Services Licence under FSRA.
ICAA CEO Stephen Harrison said: “The professional bodies believe that accountants must be able to advise their clients on the suitability of superannuation structures (self managed superannuation funds, small APRA funds, retail funds, industry funds, corporate funds and public sector funds).”
NIA CEO Roger Cotton said the professional bodies fully supported FSRA and the view that licensing was required where consumers made a financial investment decision.
“However, it is also clear that consumers need to be able to access professional advice regarding the complexities of various superannuation structures from an educated professional who is without bias related to commissions,” he said.
Mr Harrison said the professional bodies acknowledged that a number of uncertainties had been removed from the legislation.“Accountants can now undertake a broad range of traditional accounting activities – such as audit work, advising clients on operational and administration issues in relation to a self-managed superannuation fund, setting up a business and the like,” he said.