Austrac changes supervisory strategy

AUSTRAC has released its supervision strategy for 2009-10 outlining its approach to supervising compliance across the different industry sectors it regulates under Australia's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws as it moves from a start-up stage to "business as usual."

AUSTRAC has changed its approach because the staggered implementation of the AML/CTF Act is now complete and all its obligations are now in effect and the Minister's Policy (Civil Penalty Orders) Principles 2006, which placed conditions on the circumstances in which AUSTRAC would take enforcement action, no longer apply to many obligations.

AUSTRAC describes its new approach to supervision as a spectrum:

At a lower end are activities such as mailouts, e-newsletters and articles in industry magazines. These activities can achieve a high level of coverage across a large number of reporting entities, but are not tailored to individual entities. They are designed to improve entities’ general understanding of their obligations but are less effective at improving levels of compliance than more intensive forms of supervision.

In the middle of the spectrum are themed reviews and monitoring of transaction and compliance reports. These activities are more resource intensive but still apply to a broad range of reporting entities.

On-site assessments are the highest level of supervisory intervention. These activities are tailored to individual reporting entities and consequently have a more direct impact on improving compliance. Where these activities do not result in improved compliance, they are likely to result in direct enforcement action.

The strategy outlines the different approaches AUSTRAC will take to:

  • Banks and other lenders
  • Non-banking financial services
  • Gambling and bullion
  • Money service businesses
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