Date posted: 08/10/2021

CA ANZ supports stronger anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism finance regs

Moves to strengthen regulations that fight money laundering and terrorism financing should be welcomed, Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand said today.

Money laundering and terrorism financing are illegal practices that severely damage our financial system,” Karen McWilliams, Business Reform Leader, CA ANZ said.

“As a professional accounting body, we are committed to acting in the public interest and contributing to a robust system that prevents criminals from using Australia for illegal activities.

“We support the global initiatives to combat this activity and recognise the importance of Australia meeting its obligations as a member of the Financial Action Task Force.

CA ANZ’s submission in August 2021 to the Senate inquiry into the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime outlines that while Australia already has comprehensive and tough money laundering and proceeds of crime laws in place, further efforts to prevent financial crime are a good thing.

“While the second tranche of the anti-money laundering regime would create new demands on accountants, and other professions, it is the right thing to do,” said McWilliams.

“We hold our members to high ethical standards and while we already require members to undertake a degree of customer due diligence and meet record-keeping requirements - implementing the next tranche of the regime is vital.”

Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing legislation is being implemented in Australia and New Zealand in two phases with both phases already implemented in New Zealand, and the first phase in Australia.

The first phase saw disclosure obligations apply to banks, casinos, and a range of financial service providers and The second phase brings accountants, lawyers, real estate agents and jewellers into the fold, and requires additional reporting requirements.

“Our members in NZ have experienced the implementation of phase two first-hand, and their insights have been integrated into our submission to the Senate Inquiry to help ensure future legislation in Australia will hit the mark,” McWilliams said.

Based on its NZ experience, CA ANZ recommends:

  • Ensuring the regime is as efficient as possible by leveraging any existing regulatory obligations or industry oversight requirements and minimising industry levies or administration fees on small business.
  • Fit-for-purpose regulation that factors in the compliance costs for small to medium sized practices and their clients.
  • Proactively engaging and setting expectations with consumers and the public, so they understand their obligations, before it becomes law.
  • A single, existing regulator oversees the new regulation - AUSTRAC - and the regulator is appropriately resourced to meet its aims.

“We look forward to continue working with government, regulators and wider industry to help shape the future design of the second tranche and support its successful implementation,” said McWilliams.

The Senate Inquiry is due to report in early December 2021.

Submission to inquiry into Australia’s AML and CTF regime

Read CA ANZ’s full submission

Read more