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CA ANZ MEDIA RELEASE: RECOGNISING EXISTING PROFESSIONAL REGULATORY AND PROFESSIONAL OBLIGATIONS KEY TO AML/CTF REFORMS

Chartered Accountants ANZ 2 mins read

10 July 2024

Chartered Accountants ANZ (CA ANZ) welcomes Attorney General Mark Dreyfus’ anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) crackdown and calls for a sensible and cost-efficient approach that considers Chartered Accountants’ existing regulatory and professional obligations.

“Chartered Accountants can play a vital role in detecting and preventing criminal activity and our members want to be further empowered to do their part in ensuring Australia meets its obligations under the Financial Action Task Force.

“Accordingly, we are pleased that AUSTRAC’s CEO, Brendan Thomas, has said that the extensive regulatory and professional obligations of our members will be recognised under the AML/CTF regime,” said CEO of Chartered Accountants ANZ, Ainslie van Onselen.

“This is important as it will help to minimise the set-up and compliance costs for our members, particularly those who run small to medium sized practices.

“However, for the regime to be as efficient and effective as possible, complementary legislation must also be prioritised.

“For example, in order for our members to complete timely and affordable customer due diligence, reporting entities need a beneficial ownership register, access to digital ID verification and accurate business registers that are free to search, like they are in other countries.

“We are pleased to see that the reforms cover specific professional services that can be misused by criminals, such as setting up a company. This means compliance obligations will apply to all providers who offer these services – not just members of professional associations.

“As a Trans-Tasman organisation, we have the benefit of learning from the experience of our New Zealand members who have been included under similar legislation there for nearly six years.

“We welcome yesterday’s commitment from AUSTRAC CEO Brendan Thomas to work closely with industry associations to understand the current requirements and ensure the regulation is fit for purpose. We will continue to engage closely with AUSTRAC to ensure there is careful reform that is both sensible and robust.”

 

CA ANZ put forward a set of recommendations to the Government, including:

 

  • AUSTRAC should undertake a sector risk assessment on accounting services to identify and apply a risk rating to designated services. This will aid reporting entities to accurately assess their risks.

  • AUSTRAC and the Attorney General’s Department should establish an industry working group to support the design and implementation of the AML/CTF regime for tranche-two entities, which then continues to meet regularly to discuss challenges that arise, and potential solutions, for new reporting entities.

 

  • Whole-of-government consideration of the impact the implementation of tranche-two will have on the ability of small accounting practices to meet other statutory obligations and support the implementation of government initiatives.

  • The Government should retain the existing funding model for AUSTRAC as the inclusion of tranche-two entities will benefit all Australians and the nation’s reputation so the cost of the regulator should be funded by all Australians, not just reporting entities.

 

For more information, and to read CA ANZ’s submission to the Government, click here.

 

 

ENDS

 

About Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand represents more than 139,000 financial professionals, supporting them to make a difference to the businesses, organisations and communities in which they work and live. Chartered Accountants are known as Difference Makers. The depth and breadth of their expertise helps them to see the big picture and chart the best course of action.

www.charteredaccountantsanz.com

 

For more information contact:

Gillian Bowen, Public Affairs Manager Australia

M +61 411 485 421

gillian.bowen@charteredaccountantsanz.com

 

 

 

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