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Most Australian lawyers and accountants are concerned about money laundering

by uma


Research conducted by First AML reveals attitudes Australian professionals have towards AML and Tranche 2

Sydney, Australia. 27 July 2022: 90% of lawyers and accountants are more concerned about money laundering since discussions around AML/CTF Tranche 2 have increased, according to new research by full-service anti-money laundering (AML) software solution First AML.

The research, which aims to uncover the attitudes of Australian lawyers and accountants toward current compliance and AML procedures, found that 89% of respondents said AML has moved up the company agenda in the past year. 

The biggest reasons for this are that Australian companies are increasing their focus on customer transparency and ethical customer onboarding (79%), and preparing for expected Tranche 2 implementation (70%). Other reasons include reducing siloed documentation (64%), increased risk of fines (61%) and external risks (47%). 

With a whopping 95% of respondents admitting a money laundering incident would impact their company’s ability to attract new clients and retain existing ones, 89% said they are proactively putting more rigid AML policies in place, especially given the Tranche 2 and Russian sanctions situations.

Compliance steps being put in place include technology (85%), outsourcing services such as a policy consultant or external training (83%), and hiring (57%).

However, despite these steps being taken, the research found that 67% of Australian lawyers and accountants have identified one or more instances of suspected money laundering in the past three years, with 49% identifying more than one.

Insights from the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) second annual AML and Anti-Financial Crime Conference reveal that money laundering is the most frequently observed financial crime at 18%, followed by fraud and scams (15%), corruption (14%) and fraud against government programs (11%). 

Over half (57%) of respondents said they believe the threat of money laundering will continue to get worse over the next three years, with the biggest causes of concern being the growth of unethical business practices (39%), AML/CTF Tranche 2 (19%) and the growth in online transactions (17%). 

Moreover, ACAMS data reveals 50% of people see lack of resources as the most significant risk in the last 12 months. Others include increased regulatory scrutiny and enforcement action (21%), cryptocurrency and virtual assets (17%). 

Andrew Jackson, First AML Country Manager said, “Australia has been recognised as an easy money laundering target. Accountants and lawyers need quick, easy and accurate ways to onboard customers and complete financial transactions with assurance that they are compliant. However, this is an industry-wide issue that impacts not just businesses but also the economy and everyday Australians. That’s where First AML’s technology comes in, especially as countries globally call for tighter compliance in business.”

For more information, visit firstaml.com