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Joint Communiqué: Industry Roundtable on Anti-Money Laundering between the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, and representatives of the Financial services sector.
SENATOR THE HON. CHRISTOPHER ELLISON
Minister for Justice and Customs
Manager of Government Business in the
Senate Senator for Western Australia
E094/05 21 July 2005
Joint CommuniquÃ©: Industry Roundtable on Anti-Money Laundering between the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, and representatives of the Financial Services Sector
The Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, today held a roundtable meeting at the Securities Institute of Australia in Sydney, with representatives of the financial services sector to discuss issues related to the proposed anti-money laundering (AML) legislation.
The meeting was jointly chaired by the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, and Australian Bankers’ Association Director, Tony Burke, and was attended by representatives of the banks, card schemes, fund managers, life insurers and associations representing financial planners, credit unions, brokers, investment banks, building societies, the credit, superannuation and insurance industries.
From the Federal Government, representatives attended from the Attorney-General’s Department, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Treasury and AUSTRAC.
The purpose of meeting was to discuss proposals for the implementation of the international recommendations of the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) on money laundering. These recommendations set out measures that national governments are required to adopt to comply with Counter Terrorist Funding standards.
The roundtable meeting recognised the importance of the FATF recommendations and the need to progress their implementation. In addition, the participants also agreed that any implementation must produce workable solutions that recognise the government’s obligations and the needs of the financial services sector.
Senator Ellison agreed with the industry representatives that the new regime should avoid unnecessary duplication and costs, while respecting competitive neutrality.
There was a general agreement on the concept that the new system should allow a risk-based approach, with a regulatory framework, which allows the flexible application of obligations.
This should be achieved by legislation establishing a broad framework for the new AML/CTF measures, with provision for flexibility through regulation, and agreed rules, developed in consultation between industry and AUSTRAC allowing modifications in particular circumstances on the basis of the level of risk.
Senator Ellison recognised that the financial services industry will need government support in relation to identifying Politically Exposed Persons.
The meeting agreed on procedures that would be necessary to deal with confidence with overseas institutions.
There was a general consensus that Australia’s AML system, as it applies to the finance sector, is substantially compliant with many of the international FATF recommendations discussed at the meeting.
Agreement was reached that customers already identified under the Financial Transaction Reports Act need not be re-identified. Further discussion was to be held relating to verification of other existing customers and on industry proposals for alternative methods of verification, with details to be provided to government.
The financial services sector expressed its continuing commitment to assist the government in the detection of money laundering activities and suppression of terrorist financing.
There was agreement that in approaching this issue Australia should develop its strategy consistent with comparable jurisdictions.
Agreement was also reached on principles relating to correspondent banking and that industry should develop AML/CTF programs to deal with, among other things, ongoing due diligence and suspicious transaction reporting.
Senator Chris Ellison expressed his appreciation for the commitment shown by the financial services sector and their willingness to work with government in the development of workable proposals in this critical area.
Minister Ellison’s Office: Carly Phillips (02) 6277 7260 / 0400 512 696
Australian Bankers’ Association: Heather Wellard (02) 8298 0411 / 0409 830 439