find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Austrac gears up for new role

Austrac gears up for new role

AS FINANCIAL institutions and others continue their anti-money laundering implementation plans, their new regulator is embarking on a major build-up of its own.While banks begin implementing…

AS FINANCIAL institutions and others continue their anti-money laundering implementation plans, their new regulator is embarking on a major build-up of its own.

While banks begin implementing their AML programs, the reform focus is shifting to the legal profession, with law firms set to be included under the second phase of AML legislation. Consultations on phase two are currently underway, according to the Minister for Justice and Customs, David Johnston.

Austrac (the Australian Transaction and Reports and Analysis Centre) — which has been charged with regulating the reformed anti-money laundering/counter terrorism financing (AML/CTF) framework — is undergoing a mini-revolution as it transforms from a highly regarded financial intelligence unit with 60 staff, to a major regulator with more than 300 employees.

While it received a significant increase in its annual funding from the Federal Government for 2006—07, there is a major shortage of skilled AML professionals in Australia and Austrac is competing for the same resources as the banks and other firms it will regulate.

However, Austrac CEO Neil Jensen told Lawyers Weekly the recruitment drive is progressing well and there are extra staff in the pipeline. “We’re meeting the recruitment challenge,” he said. “We have been and continue to be successful in recruiting highly qualified staff in a very competitive market. We are continuing our extensive recruitment exercise at all levels of the agency in order to be adequately resourced to administer the new AML/CTF program. This will increase staff again by at least another 60 positions by the end of 2007.”

Jensen admitted earlier this year that Austrac faced a significant challenge to adapt.

“Internally we’ve got to develop some new skills to fit with our new role. We’ve doubled our staff in recent years and recently doubled it again,” Jensen said. “So we’ve gone from approximately 60 staff in 2000 and will be up to nearly 300 by the middle of next year. Early last year we put in place a change management program which has been very successful in the organisation, and we’ve developed staff as well as adding new staff to organisation. But upgrading skills and developing new skills for the new regulatory role is a major challenge.”

Indeed, Jensen said last month that there are currently 300 Austrac staff including contractors.

AML experts said that the role and performance of Austrac will be critical to the success of the new framework, which brings Australia into line with international standards on money laundering and counter terrorist financing.

“The effectiveness of Australia’s AML regime will be determined by how effective Austrac is as an AML regulator,” said Chris Cass, AML partner at Deloitte. “If I told you there were no police cars on the road, what speed would you drive home? It’s a thing called ‘perception of detection’, and if society doesn’t have a perception of detection, then why wouldn’t we all sort of act in an anarchist manner?”9

Austrac will also be holding a series of implementation forums for industries affected by the new anti-money laundering laws.

The forums, which will take place twice a year, aim to avoid excessive compliance costs and develop strategies to minimise compliance risks and involve the financial and gaming industries. “Austrac is committed to working with industry to assist them to understand their obligations to identify, manage and lessen any money laundering and terrorism financing risks within their business,” said Jensen, who chairs the new forums.

Austrac will also release a regulatory guide and legal interpretive series later this year.

For more information see www.riskmanagementmagazine.com.au.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Austrac gears up for new role
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Lawyers welcome same-sex marriage reform
Dec 11 2017
Lawyers welcome same-sex marriage reform
Australian lawyers have welcomed the recent legalisation of same-sex marriage, after a prolonged nat...
Senate disallows double standards for temporary visa holders
Dec 8 2017
Senate disallows double standards for temporary visa holders
Lawyers have welcomed the Senate’s rejection of regulations imposing strict penalties on temporary...
Handcuffs, freedom
Dec 7 2017
Queensland clocks up more breach of bail offences
A new report about sentencing trends in Queensland shows the number of offenders who have been sente...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...