The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) has moved to ease concerns that the regulatory overlap between it and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) will lead to extra red tape for advisers and licensees.

Despite the industry winning a 12-month reprieve from the TPB regulating the tax advice provided by financial planners, many questions remain over how the two regulators will operate in tandem.

The Financial Planning Association (FPA) recently identified the duplication of registration under TPB and ASIC as a concern given that competency standards are still being hammered out.

Avoiding regulatory overlap

However, Janette Luu, senior adviser to the chair of the TPB, told Professional Planner that a key objective of the new regulatory regime was to minimise compliance costs by avoiding regulatory overlap between the TPB and ASIC. “This is achieved, in part, by removing legislative impediments to the TPB and ASIC sharing information about those entities in the financial services industry regulated by both agencies,” she said.

“TPB and ASIC are developing a memorandum of understanding to underpin a commitment to work closely together, be open and consultative, and provide positive assistance.”

In developing TPB policies, the board is said to be considering relevant ASIC policies and incorporating or recognising these wherever appropriate. For example, educational and competency requirements, continuing professional education and professional indemnity insurance requirements.

Luu said shared administrative processes are being developed that will include links to each agency’s website and the pre-population of TPB forms with ASIC data.

She committed the TPB to ongoing industry consultation.

“The TPB has been consulting with industry and stakeholders on a number of issues and will continue to do so over the next 11 months to help prepare for this change,” said Luu. “This consultative approach will help the TPB understand key issues for stakeholders and provide guidance in developing policies.”

Issues, experience

The burning questions include: how tax (financial) advisers will register with the TPB; professional indemnity insurance requirements; continuing professional education requirements; and qualification and experience requirements.

The TPB has set up a regular program of meetings over the next 11 months with all the relevant associations and dealer groups. The first of these meetings took place in June and the next meeting is scheduled for mid-September.

Luu also refuted claims that the tax body has little experience dealing with financial planners.

“The TPB had prepared for and was ready to go with the registration process from July 1 had it proceeded. This would have been a notification process where the issues highlighted for discussion in the next 11 months would have been subject to the same consultation process,” she said.

“[Our] members include people with a background in tax, financial planning, accounting, bookkeeping, law, academia and business.”