Insights and tips from the compliance report

The 2021 compliance reporting period is fast approaching.

Your business is at the frontline of Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing efforts. Each year, most regulated businesses are required to lodge an annual compliance report to AUSTRAC.

Your compliance report is one of your important obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act). The information you provide in your compliance report is critical to help us monitor how businesses are meeting their obligations, and what support and guidance may be needed for different industry sectors.

Based on what businesses told us in last year’s reports, here are our three top tips to help you meet your AML/CTF obligations.

Ensure your ML/TF risk assessment and staff training are up-to-date

Regularly review your business’s money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) risk assessment in response to changes in your operating environment. In 2020, many businesses introduced new products and services, for example remote delivery channels. Some of these businesses updated their AML/CTF Program, however many did not review their risk assessment or update their systems and controls, including their staff training, as a result of these changes.

Strengthen how your business identifies and manages high risk customers

Regularly review and strengthen your enhanced customer due diligence (ECDD) program and how you identify and manage your high risk customers. In 2020, some businesses at high risk of criminal exploitation reported low numbers of high risk customers, indicating their ML/TF risk assessment and ECDD program may need to be reviewed.

Use a strong transaction monitoring program to detect suspicious activity

Ensure your business can detect and report potentially suspicious activity through a well-calibrated transaction monitoring program. In 2020, a number of businesses had transaction monitoring programs that did not detect any suspicious activity in the preceding 12 months. The suspicious matter reports (SMRs) you submit are vital for AUSTRAC, law enforcement and other regulatory agencies to detect, deter and disrupt criminals.

Get ready for the 2021 compliance report

If you are required to submit a compliance report, preview the questions in the 2021 compliance report to help you prepare. The report opens on 1 January 2022 and must be submitted by 31 March 2022. If you don’t submit your report by the due date, AUSTRAC can take enforcement action, which could include issuing a remedial direction and/or an infringement notice. Find out more about the consequences of not complying.

See the compliance report for more information.