Australia's financial services regulators have committed to coordinating their efforts to ensure that professionals working in the country's self-managed superannuation sector are acting as they should do.
In a panel session at the SMSF Association National Conference in Adelaide, Australian Taxation Office (ATO) commissioner Chris Jordan and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) commissioner Greg Tanzer said cooperation between the two bodies had never been stronger and both were putting significant resources towards the SMSF sector.
"Across the public sector more generally, and particularly in super taxation, there is a much stronger connection between agencies with cooperation of approach. We are aiming to coordinate our activities," said Tanzer.
"The SMSF sector is such an important part of the super landscape, and therefore of Australians' well-being, and that's why we put so much effort into it."
Jordan said that the ATO was progressing well down its 18 month worn path of reinventing itself in a bid to improve confidence and trust in the system.
"The ATO mission is to contribute to the economic and social well-being of Australians through fostering willing participation in the tax system," he said.
"The easier you make it for people to comply, the more likely they are. We want to give clearer guidance to get through a complex system. The more people have confidence in the integrity of the system they are more likely to comply."
He added that a regulatory system that is performing well should be easy to navigate and not impinge too much on the efficiency of the industry it is supposed to protect.
"We want to design the system for the majority. The majority want to do what they have to do as quickly and as easily as possible. If we want to make it impossible for people to get through the regulations then the experience for everyone is that compliance is more expensive and takes longer," Jordan said.
"We want an arms-length overview of what's going on."
Tanzer added that most of ASIC's efforts in the SMSF sector were currently centred on raising standards. A recent focus on SMSF auditors had unearthed some 400 people practicing without the appropriate qualifications or experience.
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