Government urged to stay focused on efficiency and integrity gains amidst MBR program cancellation

SMSF Association Media Release

The SMSF Association is urging the Government not to lose sight of key aspects of the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program, that would have delivered improved administrative efficiencies and enhanced data security.

The Association pointed to key aspects of the MBR program that were designed to streamline the way company details are registered, viewed, and maintained to reduce duplication of information and unlock administrative efficiencies. It was responding to the Federal Governments recent decision to hawk the program.

SMSF Association CEO, Peter Burgess said, “With around 400,000 SMSFs with a corporate trustee, it was envisaged the consolidation of the Director ID and ASIC’s core business register would deliver better data linking, improved security and ultimately an uplift in data integrity for the SMSF sector.

“For example, there have been instances in the past where ASIC has de-registered the corporate trustee of an SMSF, because changes to the trustee’s contact details have not been updated across all company registers and ASIC has been unable to notify directors of overdue annual review fees.”

“Reinstating the company in these situations is not a straightforward task, and it was hoped with better data linking, scenarios like this, could be avoided.”

“There was lots of promise in the MBR program which we hope will not be lost and instead will be taken up in future projects in line with the Government’s budget, timeline and resources,” Burgess said.

Burgess also referred to limitations with accessing client data as another area which requires immediate attention.

With the Government presumably re-calibrating its digital and IT program of work, we are calling on the Government to review access to client data via the ATO’s portals.

“We see this as an opportunity for the Government to address data access limitations which currently prevent licensed financial advisers and administrators from accessing vital client data.”

Currently only registered tax agents can access total superannuation balances (TSB), and transfer balance caps (TBC) information for a client from the ATO portal which Burgess says is quite ironic given that many tax agents are not licensed to provide personal financial advice.”

“In contrast a financial adviser who is licensed to provide personal financial advice must rely on their clients accessing this data via MyGov and then sharing this information with them.”

“This has a significant impact on the timeliness and efficiency of advice and erodes the trust established between client and adviser”, Burgess says.

With the provision of high quality, accessible and affordable financial advice a Government commitment, it is nonsensical that the regulatory framework within which licensed financial advisers operate does not provide them with the access to the information they need.