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The IPA has outlined the necessary considerations for accountants when weighing up their impending licensing decision.
“I don’t want to scare people but at the same time I sort of do,” was the message from the IPA’s executive general manager, advocacy and technical Vicki Stylianou at the 2015 National Congress, when she urged members to make sure they are prepared for the impending changes to the licensing regime.
Addressing the congress ahead of an information session by the Financial Ombudsmen’s Service, Ms Stylianou encouraged members to act now, but carefully consider all the options.
“There are still over 40 per cent of members, according to our latest survey, who haven’t decided what they’re going to do, so I urge you to make that decision,” Ms Stylianou said.
“In terms of deciding which way you’re going to go, a lot of it comes down to a business decision.
“It’s an opportunity to step back, look at your practice, look at your clients, look at your current situation but also look at your future direction, which way you want to go. What sort of work do you want to do? What sort of clients do you want to have?”
For those wishing to provide their clients any sort of financial services, Ms Stylianou said there
are three main options members should consider: obtaining a limited licence, becoming an authorised representative of a licence holder, or putting in place referral relationships.
Ms Stylianou cautioned members that it is a criminal offence to provide unlicensed financial services, and told attendees ASIC will be watching.
“ASIC may be already shadow shopping. You can pretty much guarantee after 2 July next year there will be shadow shopping that will catch people out.
“With accountants being new to the regime, I think they will be looking for some early scalps,” Ms Stylianou said. “I know some accountants are hoping it’s all going to go away but there is absolutely no sign whatsoever that it is going to. I know some people might be thinking they can just continue doing what they’re doing but it’s a completely new world order.”