The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) has raised concerns over the significant increases in ASIC fees, with the association claiming the increases could cause a number of its members to exit the industry entirely.

IPA executive general manager of representation and innovation Vicki Stylianou told InvestorDaily the ASIC fee increases, announced as part of the 2012 Federal Budget, have resulted in some fees jumping by up to 600 per cent and may cause its members to quit the industry.

“You have to keep the fees reasonable,” Stylianou said.

She explained that when the practitioners’ fee was established, some of the IPA members complained about having to pay up to $500. The new additional fees may create too much pressure, she added.

“So we’re saying to ASIC, the Treasury and the Government, you can’t expect them to start paying thousands of dollars to do what they have been doing. Our members don’t make a huge amount of money. I think they’re crossing the line now,” she said.

“When you get members starting to say ‘too much, it’s not worth it’, especially those that are getting closer to retirement, [they are] exiting, which is exactly what the government does not want.”

This goes against ASIC’s plans to make financial advice accessible and affordable to everyone by having scaled advice and the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA), she said.

“So not only are we doing it but we’ve also got to pay more for it, whether its increasing a financial services levy, ASIC fees going up or licensing fees going up,” she said.

“And now they want you to sit a competency exam, [which] you have to pay to sit, and then pay an ongoing annual fee.”

The 2012 Federal Budget contained a proposal for Australian financial services license application fees to jump to $1485 from a current level of either $287 or $575 determined by the application method.

Similarly annual lodgement fees are also set to rise from $351 to $549 for a body corporate and from $144 to $225 for individuals.

The rationale behind the price hikes was to offset some of the additional $23.9 million funding allocated to ASIC for the implementation of the FoFA reforms.

The trend has been for governments to increasingly push regulation onto the industry profession, she added.


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