On 28.2.18, ASIC announced that had disqualified Robert Mark Taylor, of New South Wales, from being an approved self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) auditor for breaching fundamental independence requirements.
ASIC found that Mr Taylor had breached the auditor independence requirements of APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants in auditing his own fund, the fund of his close family member and a fund where he was a director of the corporate trustee.
ASIC Commissioner John Price said, ‘SMSF auditors play a fundamental role in promoting confidence in the SMSF sector, so it is crucial that they adhere to ethical and professional standards. ASIC will continue to take action where the conduct of SMSF auditors is inadequate.’
SMSF trustees and members can check whether their auditor is registered, or whether a person has been disqualified, by searching ASIC’s SMSF auditor register at http://connectonline.asic.gov.au
From 1 July 2013, the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS Act) required all auditors of SMSFs to be registered with ASIC (Part 16, Division1A). This was to ensure that all SMSF auditors meet the base standards of competency and expertise.
Registration can occur under s128B. Cancellation can occur under s128E. Registers of approved and disqualified SMSF auditors are kept under s128J and 128K, respectively.
The ATO has the power to refer matters of concern, regarding an approved auditor, to ASIC for investigation, under s128P of the SIS Act, which is what happened here. ASIC and the ATO work closely together as co-regulators of SMSF auditors. The ATO monitors SMSF auditor conduct and may refer matters to ASIC for possible action such as disqualification or suspension of their registration.
Study questions (answers below*)
- Did ASIC disqualify an SMSF auditor for breaching fundamental independence requirements?
- Was his problem limited to auditing his own fund and one with a corporate trustee, of which he was a director?
- Did the ‘ASIC approved SMSF auditor regime’ commence on 1 July 2012?
- Does s128P of the SIS Act allow the ATO to refer approved auditor concerns to ASIC for investigation?