Keeping on top of the latest financial services regulatory & compliance trends?
Investing time in your professional development within a rapidly changing financial services industry is challenging. To meet that challenge, the Australian regulators weekly wrap is designed to keep you at forefront of your practice by quickly setting out the top 5 developments from the past week, analysis and practical considerations for the future.
- Margin requirements (APRA): the prudential regulator has made amendments to Prudential Standard CPS 226 Margining and risk mitigation for non-centrally cleared derivatives , by adding the UK’s Prudential Regulation Authority and Financial Conduct Authority to the list of foreign regulators in Attachment D. A small, but important move — we need more equivalence between our financial services regulators in terms of international licensing!
- Financial crime guide (AUSTRAC): a new financial crime guide has been released to help organisations to detect and stop suspicious activity related to forced sexual servitude. This form of slavery represents around 30% of slavery cases in Australia, which is horrifying. The guide provides a comprehensive set of financial indicators to help businesses understand, identify and report suspicious financial activity to stop sexual slavery. Of note to me was the emphasis placed on the fact that financial analysis alone can make it difficult to differentiate between legal sex work and illegal sex work, and therefore needs to be used in conjunction with other indicators and information to define and detect the activity. You can read the guide here.
- Bankruptcy changes (AFSA): on 6 April 2022, the Attorney-General’s Department announced changes to both the Bankruptcy Regulations 2021 and the Insolvency Practice Rules 2016. Changes have been made to section 102 of the regulations which covers service of documents. The change now ensures documents required or permitted by the Act or the Regulations to be given, sent to, or served on a person can be sent electronically without the need for prior consent from the recipient. This change is effective immediately. There have been 22 amendments made to the rules which include: making trustee registration requirements more flexible introducing more efficiencies, transparency and certainty to creditor meetings; and, ensuring the rules are consistent with similar provisions in the Insolvency Practice Rules (Corporations) 2016. The rules commence on 5 July 2022.
- Electronic meetings / execution (Treasury): The Corporations Amendment (Meetings and Documents) Bill 2021 (Cth) has commenced. It amends the the Corporations Act to: permit electronic execution of documents (including deeds); allow for company meetings to be held either at a physical venue or through virtual meetings, or a hybrid combination of the two in select circumstances; and, enable the electronic distribution of meeting-related and ancillary documents. An overdue change, and a welcome one!
- AML Advisers (AUSTRAC): AUSTRAC has released updated guidance to help businesses seek advisers who are suitably qualified and experienced to provide products and services for your business. The guidance sets out a number of factors you should consider and address prior to engaging the services of an adviser. AUSTRAC has noted that it is not obligatory to hire an AML/CTF adviser, but if you do decide to engage the services of an adviser, make sure they are a good fit for your business. Interesting it also states “Remember: go for tailored, not off the rack.”
Thought for the future: AUSTRAC’s advice is excellent. AML/CTF is a very technical area of law, and there are big problems if it goes wrong. I do see a lot of churn and burn AML/CTF programs and advice out there, and wonder whether they are in client’s best interests…