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No special ASIC treatment for accountants providing unlicensed advice

By Mike Taylor1 November 2021

Accountants who provide unlicensed financial advice will be treated no differently to anyone else found to be providing advice which is unlicensed.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has made clear to a Parliamentary Committee that it would not be treating accountants any differently notwithstanding their status in the financial services industry.

The regulator was responding to questions from Senator Susan McDonald during a hearing of the Senate Economics Legislation Committee who said she wanted an explanation of how the oversight of unlicensed financial advisers worked.

“Financial advisers are subjected to careful oversight of their licenses by ASIC, what oversight is directed towards accountants,” she asked noting that she was referring to the situation of an accountant in Western Australia.

ASIC responded that in relation to the provision of unlicensed advice by accountants it would was consistent with regulator’s general approach to unlicensed advice.

The Senator said she was concerned because the media had referred to a person as being both an accountant and a financial adviser when that was not the case.

ASIC said it was not saying it would not look at and take action against someone providing unlicensed financial advice but it could not be responsible for how people providing unlicensed advice were described in the media.

Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor

Managing Editor/Publisher, Financial Newswire

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