Accountants (Limited AFS licensees)

ASIC licensing requirement  

If you’re an accountant providing retail clients with advice on self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs), you'll need to hold a 'limited' Australian financial services licence (AFSL) from 1 July 2016. 

External Dispute Resolution (EDR)

You'll also need to join an external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme approved by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Joining the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) will satisfy this requirement.

Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR)

ASIC requires a licensee who deals with retail clients to maintain an internal dispute resolution (IDR) process.  In our experience, the vast majority of complaints between clients and licensees are resolved in IDR. Only complaints that are not resolved 'internally' within IDR are referred to CIO. 

Benefits of joining CIO

More than 20,000 financial services providers (FSPs) choose CIO as their preferred EDR scheme.

Principal benefits for SMSF accountants joining CIO:

  • no annual membership fee or application fee until 1 July 2017, 
  • complaint fee rebate for one complaint per membership year,
  • offers you faster, simpler and inexpensive complaints resolution, rather than letting complaints drain your resources, sapping money, time and management focus,
  • allows you and your client to resolve a conflict in a more creative way than might be possible if it were left to a decision by a court,
  • gives the parties greater privacy in resolving their dispute than is afforded in a public courtroom,
  • can permit valued relationships among the parties to be preserved,
  • keeps you in control of the complaint process,
  • demonstrates a commitment to provide quality value-added client services because clients prefer to deal with businesses that have effective complaint management procedures.

We are required to be entirely independent and impartial, and you and your clients will have access to experienced and professional staff to help resolve complaints in a confidential setting.


Annual membership

Accountants or other FSPs who hold limited AFS licences will be entitled to a free membership until 1 July 2017. After that date, a base membership fee of $350 (which includes up to 5 of your representatives) is payable. We will also waive the standard application fee of $190 if you join us before 1 July 2017.

Complaint fees

We do charge complaint fees depending on the stage of our process the complaint reaches. However, only 2.3% of CIO members receive complaints each year. Further, most complaints are resolved at our earliest (and least expensive) stages: 92% of all complaints received by us are solved at the Registration or Initial Review Stages.

We also offer a complaint fee rebate for one complaint per membership year.

Click here to view our detailed complaint fee schedule

Further information

Contact us for further information about AFS licences and CIO membership. For more information, please call us on 02 9273 8455 or email us ( For more information about applying for a limited AFS licence, please refer to ASIC's website on limited AFSLs.

Apply for membership [PDF]

Annual membership fee and application fee waiver expire 1/7/2017.