AUSTRAC announces its 2024 regulatory priorities

AUSTRAC has announced its regulatory priorities for the year ahead, detailing how we plan to bolster the financial system’s resilience to money laundering, terrorism financing and other serious crime.

Our priorities include an ongoing focus upon businesses understanding, mitigating and managing the money laundering and terrorism financing risks they face, particularly across the banking, gambling and remittance sectors which face higher risks. 

Additional sectors will be under scrutiny to uplift Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) capability and to ensure legislative compliance. The sectors are:

  • Digital Currency Exchanges (DCEs)
  • Payment platforms
  • Bullion
  • Non-Bank Lenders and Financiers

AUSTRAC’s Acting CEO Peter Soros said an important aspect of AUSTRAC’s regulatory work is engagement with businesses to identify areas for improvement early to prevent problems from becoming systemic.

“These priorities signal our ongoing intent to work with businesses to embed a culture of vigilance, ensuring everyone at every level is aware of the threat of financial abuse and criminal exploitation,” Mr Soros said.

“Criminals target businesses with weak anti-money laundering settings, which is why AUSTRAC’s regulation, through education and supervision, is crucial to safeguarding Australia’s communities and financial systems from financial harm.

“Although today’s announcement calls out certain sectors, all industries sectors should expect interaction and engagement from AUSTRAC.”

AUSTRAC’s regulatory priorities call out those areas which businesses may be scrutinised against if we come knocking. This includes board and senior management oversight around the culture and risk management practises, effective transaction monitoring and managing outsourcing arrangements.

While AUSTRAC will focus its regulatory activities on these priority areas, it will retain the capacity to investigate other areas that are important to complying with AML/CTF obligations.

Where AUSTRAC identifies emerging issues or serious non-compliance, it will promptly intervene to address such matters. This may result in increased engagement, assessment, notifications and in some cases AUSTRAC enforcement action.

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