ASIC has cancelled the registration of 374 auditors of self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) who failed to lodge their annual statements.
ASIC Commissioner Danielle Press said, ‘SMSF auditors play a fundamental role in promoting confidence and instilling trust in the SMSF sector, which holds more than $865 billion in assets in over 600,000 funds. It is crucial that SMSF auditors comply with their regulatory obligations. ASIC will continue to take action where they do not meet these obligations.’
As part of its current compliance program, ASIC communicated to over 1,400 SMSF auditors that they had outstanding annual statements. Most of these auditors subsequently lodged their statements.
Those SMSF auditors still with outstanding annual statements were advised on 3 August 2022 that ASIC was considering cancelling their registration. Notice of cancellation was sent to these auditors on 23 January 2023, following their continued non-compliance.
Based on data obtained from the Australian Taxation Office, the cancelled SMSF auditors had not performed a significant number of SMSF audits in the past two to three years.
SMSF auditors need to ensure they complete and lodge their annual statements as required, or they risk cancellation of their registration. They also need to ensure their contact details are kept up to date. Lodgements of annual statements and updates to contact details can be completed via the ASIC Regulatory Portal.
SMSF trustees and members can check whether their auditor is registered by searching ASIC's SMSF Auditor register.
From 1 July 2013, the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS Act) required all auditors of SMSFs to be registered with ASIC. This was to ensure that all SMSF auditors meet at least base standards of competency and expertise.
Annually, SMSF auditors must (under s128G of the SIS Act) lodge a statement with ASIC within 30 days of the anniversary of their registration. These statements collect important compliance information.
Under s128E of the SIS Act, ASIC may cancel the registration of an SMSF auditor for not complying with s128G of the SIS Act. A cancelled SMSF auditor may reapply for registration in the future.
SMSF auditors may request that ASIC review a decision it has made against them under the SIS Act. If the decision is confirmed or varied, the SMSF auditor may apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for further review of the decision.
ASIC last undertook a SMSF auditor annual statements compliance program in 2018 (18-120MR), which resulted in the cancellation of 117 SMSF auditors.
Further information can be found on ASIC's website and in ASIC Regulatory Guide 243 Registration of self-managed superannuation fund auditors.