Australia’s proposed AML/CTF reforms
On April 20th, 2023, the Attorney-General of Australia announced public consultation on proposed reforms to the country’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regime. This is a significant move for the Australian government, as serious and organised crime is estimated to cost up to A$60.1 billion in 2020-21, with illicit financing at the center of most crime types. The proposed reforms aim to simplify and modernise the operation of the regime and extend it to high-risk professions, including lawyers, accountants, trust and company service providers, real estate agents, and dealers in precious metals and stones.
The impact of serious and organised crime on Australia’s Financial System
Serious and organized crime directly impacts the safety and wellbeing of Australian communities, and exploits and distorts legitimate markets and economic activity. The AML/CTF regime is a central part of Australia’s efforts to prevent criminals from enjoying the profits of their illegal activity and stopping funds from falling into the hands of terrorist organizations. The proposed reforms reflect the Australian government’s commitment to protecting the integrity of the Australian financial system and improving Australia’s AML/CTF regime to ensure it is fit-for-purpose, responds to the evolving threat environment, and meets international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global financial crime watchdog and standard-setter.
The purpose of the AML/CTF regime and its obligations for regulated entities
No legitimate business wants to wittingly, or unwittingly, assist the laundering of money that aids the commissioning of serious crimes including terrorism, child abuse and the illicit drug trade. The purpose of the AML/CTF regime is to assist businesses to identify these risks in the course of providing their services. In doing so, the AML/CTF regime sets out a range of measures to protect regulated entities that are at the front line in preventing serious financial crimes. These obligations build resilience against misuse by criminals within regulated sectors and require the reporting of certain transactions to government for use as financial intelligence to combat money laundering, terrorism financing and other serious financial crime. These reports are vital in understanding and stopping the flow of illicit funds into, out of and within Australia.
Part 1 of the Proposed Reforms: Simplifying and Modernising the AML/CTF Regime
Part 1 of the proposed reforms aims to simplify and modernise the operation of the AML/CTF regime. The need to streamline obligations has long been called for by industry and was recommended by the 2016 Report on the Statutory Review of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (the 2016 Statutory Review). The 2016 Statutory Review found that the regime is overly complex and impedes the ability of regulated entities to understand and comply with their AML/CTF obligations. In particular, the scale, structure, and density of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Rules Instrument 2007 (No. 1) (the Rules) was considered to be a significant issue, rendering the Rules hard to follow and largely inaccessible, particularly for small business. The feedback from industry indicated that there is a pressing need to simplify the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (the Act) and Rules, and streamline AML/CTF obligations.
Verify 365 streamlines the process of verifying a client’s identity, which is a critical component of AML/CTF compliance. Our platform helps law firms easily collect and verify client data, conduct risk assessments, and automate compliance workflows. This reduces the risk of non-compliance and allows law firms to focus on delivering exceptional legal services to their clients.
With Verify 365, law firms can also benefit from our user-friendly platform, which is designed to make compliance easy and efficient. Our solution includes a range of features to help law firms meet their AML/CTF obligations, such as enhanced due diligence checks, automated risk assessments, and secure document storage. This means that law firms can reduce the risk of non-compliance and avoid costly fines and reputational damage.
Part 2 of the Proposed Reforms: Extending the AML/CTF Regime to High-Risk Professions
Part 2 of the proposed reforms aims to extend the AML/CTF regime to certain high-risk professions, including lawyers, accountants, trust and company service providers, real estate agents, and dealers in precious metals and stones. This means that these professionals will need to comply with AML/CTF obligations if the proposed reforms are passed into law.
Verify 365 can help law firms, accountants, and property professionals comply with these obligations by providing a comprehensive solution for client onboarding and compliance. Our platform includes features such as identity verification, ongoing monitoring, and sanctions risk assessments, which are specifically designed to help high-risk professions meet their AML/CTF obligations.
Why Verify 365 is the solution for Law Firms, Accountants, and Property Professionals
At Verify 365, we believe that compliance should not be a burden for law firms, accountants, and property professionals. Our solution is designed to be simple, affordable, and efficient, allowing our clients to focus on delivering exceptional services to their clients. By partnering with Verify 365, law firms can streamline client onboarding, reduce the risk of non-compliance, and focus on delivering exceptional legal services to their clients.
Streamlining Compliance with Verify 365’s User-Friendly Platform
Verify 365’s user-friendly platform is designed to make compliance easy and efficient. Our platform includes features such as automated AML workflows, secure id document verification, and real-time liveness test and instant AML reporting, which help law firms, accountants, and property professionals meet their AML/CTF obligations by giving them instant results. Our solution is also scalable, meaning that it can grow and adapt as your business evolves by providing you with configurable integrations.
Simplifying AML Compliance with Verify 365
Australia’s proposed reforms to the AML/CTF regime reflect the Australian government’s commitment to protecting the integrity of the financial system and improving AML/CTF compliance. At Verify 365, we are committed to helping law firms, accountants, and property professionals navigate these changes and ensure compliance. With Verify 365, you can streamline client onboarding, reduce the risk of non-compliance, and focus on delivering exceptional services to your clients.
Looking to get started with Verify 365? Get in touch and book a free demo.