ASIC action on reciprocal SMSF audits
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has taken action against 18 self-managed superannuation funds auditors who audited each other’s personal SMSFs on a reciprocal basis.
The regulator announced today that it had taken action following referrals from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) of 18 SMSF auditors involved in the reciprocal audit arrangements.
“Each of the reciprocal audit arrangements involved two SMSF auditors who audited each other’s personal SMSFs,” ASIC said in an announcement. “There are no safeguards that can reduce the threats to an acceptable level and the auditors should not have entered into the arrangements.”
ASIC said that it consequently accepted voluntary cancellation requests from nine of the SMSF auditors and imposed additional conditions on the registration of the other nine.
It said the additional conditions imposed on the auditors included:
- restrictions in relation to audits of their personal funds;
- independence reviews to be performed and declarations to be made to ASIC about their SMSF audit clients;
- additional education requirements relating to ethics and auditor independence;
- a requirement to notify their professional association.
“These actions were appropriate considering the auditors’ individual circumstances and the developments in guidance and practice since ending their reciprocal audit arrangements. It should now be clear to SMSF auditors that entering into reciprocal audit arrangements is an unacceptable breach of their independence requirements. ASIC will disqualify auditors for such breaches where appropriate,” the ASIC statement said.