The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), the regulator responsible for enforcing Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws, has released its annual report for 2016-17. The report outlines various aspects of AUSTRAC’s performance. 

Relevantly, AUSTRAC outlined the success of its dedicated webpage for fintech businesses and other start-ups, which was established in November 2016. The web page provides information about the AML/CTF regime and AUSTRAC’s role, enabling businesses to have a channel to engage directly with AUSTRAC. The report detailed that AUSTRAC was building closer relationships with emerging entities and industries to provide them with insights regarding the risks and opportunities which may emerge.

The report notes that over 40 direct enquiries were received by AUSTRAC from entities developing innovative new approaches to providing “designated services”, which are regulated under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth) (AML/CTF Act).  AUSTRAC also noted that they met with representatives of start-ups throughout the year to enable those businesses to discuss proposed business models and provide guidance on how their businesses could comply with obligations under the AML/CTF Act.

These initiatives of AUSTRAC reflect its willingness to engage with fintech businesses following the launch of the AUSTRAC Innovation Hub earlier in 2017, a key feature of the Fintel Alliance.  If you are a fintech business subject to the AML/CTF Act by providing a designated service (which covers a broad range of financial services activities), then the volume of enquiries AUSTRAC is responding to suggests its fintech webpage and Innovation Hub are helpful first points of contact for understanding your obligations under the AML/CTF Act.