AUSTRAC Outlines Common Reporting Mistakes at Industry Outreach Event

  • Richard Marley
  • September 07, 2021
  • 2 minutes read
  • 231

Australian regulator, AUSTRAC, highlighted important reporting errors in AML/CFT programmes of reporting entities, suggesting key improvement practices. 

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) in an industry outreach event highlighted basic reporting deficiencies by obligated entities. The report detailed specific inadequacies while filing suspicious matter reports (SMRs) and submitting transaction threshold reports (TTRs).

The event took place with AUSTRAC collaborating with ACAMS (Association for Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist) which is the biggest membership organisation of professionals working towards detection and prevention of financial crime. 

A report compiled by the Australian Financial Review, states that AUSTRAC cites the following concerns regarding reporting standards:

  • The paperwork for TTRs and SMRs is dishevelled, entries are incorrectly placed while fields are wrongly utilised
  • The name of the account holder or victim is often transposed with a suspicious person’s name, which is not true in all cases
  • Address information is missing or incomplete especially streets numbers
  • There is too much defensive reporting which leads to processing unnecessary information 
  • Certain delays in filings of reports resulting in loss of AUSTRAC’s and other authorities’ resources 
  • Inconsistent formats are being used to enter mobile numbers in various ways 

Apart from these, the Australian regulator pointed out that a common deficiency in AML/CFT programmes is when organisations appoint subject-matter-experts  (SMEs) and consultants in place of in-house compliance teams. Jack Haldane, the AUSTRAC director of supervision, stated that:

“These are resources that are there to supplement what you’re already doing, not replace or outsource what that compliance function should be doing. If you are sitting down on day one of a compliance assessment, and we’ve got a better handle on your program than you, that’s probably not a good sign of how the rest of your assessment is going to go.”

He further elaborated that there are numerous organisations undergoing business changes and introducing products without pre-release due diligence.