Possible AML implications for FinTechs

By Jim Bulling and Michelle Chasser

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) is encouraging FinTech businesses to make contact about Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime (AML/CTF regime) and how it may affect their business. A dedicated online contact form has been established which allows enquiries to be made directly to the Policy and Guidance team.

Businesses which provide a ‘designated service’ are reporting entities which have obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006. There are a number of designated services that a FinTech business may provide including making loans, issuing a stored value card, giving effect to remittance arrangements, issuing interests in a managed investment scheme and (in the capacity of an Australian financial services licensee) arranging for a person to receive a designated service.

Currently activities relating to digital currencies such as BitCoin are not designated services. However, in October 2016 the Attorney General’s Department released its draft project plan for the implementation of the recommendations from the statutory review of the AML/CTF regime. Under the project plan, legislative proposals to regulate digital currencies under the AML/CTF regime will be developed by the first half of 2017.

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