ASIC announces action against 11 SMSF auditors

ASIC has taken action against 11 self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) auditors, where conduct has fallen short and they have breached their obligations, in the quarter ending 30 September 2023. This included breaches of auditing and assurance standards, independence requirements and registration conditions.

ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said, ‘SMSF auditors have a critical role in upholding the integrity of the SMSF sector through annual audits. They oversee over 610,000 SMSFs, representing more than $875 billion in funds. SMSF auditors play an essential role in supporting confidence in the SMSF sector, and ASIC will continue to take action where their conduct is inadequate.’

Between 1 July 2023 and 30 September 2023, ASIC:

disqualified three SMSF auditors;
imposed additional conditions on five SMSF auditors; and
cancelled the registration of three SMSF auditors.
Carlo Celisano, Eamon Lynch and Brian Townhill were disqualified from being SMSF auditors. Their names have been placed on ASIC’s public banned and disqualified register and are not eligible to reapply for registration.

Anthony Boys, Laurence Carwardine, Gurjeet Singh, Bruno Sternberg and Mark Turner had additional conditions imposed on their SMSF auditor registration. Conditions are specific to the auditor (see the SMSF Auditor register), and can require undertaking additional professional development, passing the SMSF auditor competency exam, having independent reviews of SMSF audit files and/or audit tools, templates and methodology, performing independence threat and safeguard evaluation and notifying their professional accounting association of the additional conditions.

Jeffrey Leahy, James Ulrich and Lou Varalla had their SMSF auditor registration cancelled.

All 11 SMSF auditors were referred to ASIC by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

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