AUSTRAC to Audit Three Bell Financial Group Entities to Evaluate AML/CFT Compliance

  • Richard Marley
  • February 17, 2022
  • 2 minutes read
  • 2004

AUSTRAC has called for the audit of three entities under the Bell Financial Group, including Bell Potter Capital Limited, Bell Potter Securities Limited, and Third Party Platform Pty Ltd.

An external auditor was appointed by AUSTRAC to assess the compliance of the three entities with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act) and Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Rules Instrument 2007 (No. 1) (AML/CTF Rules).

After a period of engagement with the Australian-based Bell Financial Group, AUSTRAC identified compliance issues within their system. AUSTRAC regulated the member companies within the Bell Financial Group, which provide stockbroking, foreign exchange, loans, investment, and financial advisory services.

AUSTRAC has ordered the external auditor to report within 180 days of being appointed and will assess the compliance regimes of the three entities with:

  • The requirement to have an AML/CTF program and comply with Part A of that program
  • The requirement to have an ongoing customer due diligence program
  • Suspicious matter report reporting obligations
  • Maintenance of enrolment details within required timeframes

The Chief Executive Officer of AUSTRAC, Nicole Rose PSM stated that the AML/CTF guidelines are implemented to secure businesses, the financial system, and Australian citizens from threats of financial crime. 

“Australian financial services businesses have a responsibility to ensure they devote the necessary resources and processes to comply with their AML/CTF obligations under the law. 

“We will continue to work closely with Bell Financial Group to address any compliance concerns and take action where any businesses that we regulate are failing to appropriately protect themselves and Australia’s financial system from criminal activity,” Ms. Rose said.

The depth of the auditor’s analysis is predefined by AUSTRAC and Bell Financial Group will pay the expenses. The results of the audit will help the three businesses in their compliance programs and AUSTRAC will decide whether any further regulatory action is needed.  

Suggested read: AUSTRAC to Update Guidance for Threshold Transaction Reporting