The Tax Practitioners Board has concluded that accountants who are also licensed to provide financial advice will probably meet its continuing professional development standards if they manage to satisfy FASEA’s CPD mandate.

FASEA’s require more CPD hours, the TPB pointed out, so satisfying their requirements is likely to mean its own standards have been met.

The TPB posted information about the issue to clarify the position of tax accountants filling the dual financial adviser and tax accountant roles. The majority of those affected are accountants who are provide SMSF-only financial advice under limited license laws.

“The number of CPD hours that FASEA requires per annum is greater than the number of hours that the TPB requires,” the notice, posted on the TPB website, stated. “This means that if you meet FASEA’s CPD minimum hours, it is likely to also meet the TPB’s requirements.”

The note contains the caveat that the CPD activities must be relevant to the tax (financial advice) services provided, as well as separate from the formal qualifications required for TPB registration.

The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority’s CPD requirement requires a ‘CPD plan’ and 40 hours of qualifying CPD studies per year, with several parameters around minimum and maximum hours for different areas of technical competence.

The TPB’s requirement, on the other hand, is for only 60 hours of relevant study over three years. Importantly, the TPB requirement is far less prescriptive in terms of content, which makes it easier to match up with FASEA’s content.

“The TPB does not accredit or approve CPE activities,” the TPB’s post states. “Registered tax (financial) advisers must exercise their professional judgement in selecting relevant CPE activities to be completed.”

The November 15 announcement came two weeks before TPB board member Julie Berry presented on the mirroring requirements at the Financial Planning Association’s Congress in Melbourne. Berry drew parallels between the CPD and Ethics Code requirements for the two entities and debated the efficacy of having two entirely independent systems.

Tahn Sharpe is a Sydney-based financial services journalist with a background in financial planning. He writes on advice, superannuation, investment, banking and insurance issues, is a certified SMSF Adviser and holds an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning. Contact at [email protected]
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