Limited AFS licence - Accountants and 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:

  • superannuation products
  • securities
  • simple managed investment schemes as defined in the Corporations Regulations 2001
  • general and life insurance, and
  • basic deposit products.

Included within the definition of 'limited financial services' is the authorisation to arrange to deal in an interest in an SMSF.  

Supporting documents

INFO 179 Applying for a limited AFS licence 
Professional indemnity insurance questionnaire 
Regulatory Guide 1: AFS Licensing Kit: Part 1- Applying for and varying an AFS licence 
Regulatory Guide 2: AFS Licensing Kit: Part 2- Preparing your AFS licence application 
Download the sample online application 
For more information, see Supporting documents 

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 

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:

  • If the trustee is a company, the applicant should enter the ACN of the company trustee on the application form at question A0.2 and select A1.1.3.
  • if the trustee is an individual, the applicant should enter ABN of the individual on the application form at question A0.2 and select A1.1.1. If the individual trustee does not hold an ABN, the applicant should obtain an ABN in the individual trustee’s name and apply using the new ABN.


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 2013 Three year transition period begins
30 June 2016 Transition period ends
1 July 2016 Exemption 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.
 
Guidance note for non joint accounting bodies  (55KB) 
AFS licensees

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:

  • a copy of the draft limited AFS licence certificate
  • the professional indemnity insurance questionnaire for completion
  • a requirements item that the certificate of currency of professional indemnity insurance held in the name of the applicant is provided
  • a confirmation notice for execution by the applicant indicating acceptance of the offer of the draft limited AFS licence, and
  • any other outstanding items, evidence or documents which are required to approve the application for a limited AFS licence.


An application for a limited AFS licence will only be approved when all items listed above have been provided to ASIC.

Compliance

For more information, see:

Your ongoing AFS licence obligations

Your AFS licence obligations explained 

Training

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


 
Supporting documents 
Other Government reforms related to FOFA 
Future of Financial advice 
AFS licensees

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Last updated: 13/05/2016 11:07