AUSTRAC to scrutinise advisers

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AUSTRAC, Australia's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulator, has expressed concern about Australia’s advice profession.

Director of operations Rob Buchan recently met with AIOFP executive director Peter Johnston to discuss the compliance behaviour in the advice sector. Buchan said that advisers weren’t meeting their obligations to report suspicious behaviour of clients, and although they had been lenient so far, things may start to change.

“Austrac have been conscious of the onerous obligations FOFA have placed on our industry but now in the post FOFA environment they are gearing up to closely monitor our industry,” Johnston said in a letter to members. “They will be focussing on assessing the programs and reporting procedures advisers have in place to fulfil their AML/CTF obligations.”

The AML/CTF Act imposes a number of obligations on advisers, which include:

  • customer identification and verification of identity
  • record-keeping
  • establishing and maintaining an AML/CTF program
  • on-going customer due diligence and reporting (suspicious matters, threshold transactions and international funds transfer instructions).

AUSTRAC has agreed to speak at the AIOFP November Hobart conference and will cover two specific areas. The first will be on what structure an adviser should have in place to report suspicious behaviour and secondly what may constitute a suspicious and reportable matter.

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