Australasia’s Conference Report

ACAMS Australasia recently lent its support to the staging of the AML/CFT Summit in Auckland from 21-23 August.  The conference attracted a wide range of quality speakers from both the public and private sectors and over 130 delegates attended.

With the June 2013 implementation date for New Zealand’s AML/CFT Act looming large on the horizon, the conference provided an ideal opportunity to discuss implementation challenges associated with the myriad of changes reporting entities face.

The conference was chaired by Gary Hughes, an ACAMS programming director based in New Zealand and partner with Wilson Harle barristers and solicitors.  Other board members in attendance included Aub Chapman, Phil O’Connell and Guy Boyd, the head of compliance with the Australian Division of ANZ who presented delegates with an Australian perspective on product vulnerability and economic sanctions.

Day one commenced with a keynote address by the CEO of the Wynyard Group who contextualised money laundering as both a social and a business problem and then focused on some of the techniques for connecting the dots and closing the loop on the criminals responsible.

The General Manager of Criminal Justice at the Ministry of Justice, Malcolm Luey then discussed various aspects of the new regulatory regime and the work that is still being carried out to ensure the legislative landscape is consistent with NZ’s commitment to the FATF recommendations. 

Each of the supervisory agencies followed with an overview of the role they will play individually when the AML/CFT Act commences before coming together as a panel to discuss some of the issues they face leading up to implementation of the new regime.

There were subsequent contributions by the private sector and in particular what New Zealand can learn from the international experience and both the impact and opportunities that may arise from transitioning to the new legislative model.  The day concluded with an address from Commander Ian McCartney of the Australian Federal Police who provided a fascinating insight into the way in which the AFP is attacking the financial base of serious and organised crime.

The second day featured presentations from some of the professional services and legal firms with suggestions on how reporting entities might best channel their efforts to ensure self preservation in a changing legislative and regulatory environment.  The challenges of AML were perhaps given some perspective by a KPMG presentation which looked at some of the significant implementation issues with FATCA and its relationship with AML/CFT.

Dr. Russell Smith from the Australasian Institute of Criminology provided the second day’s keynote address when presenting money laundering and financing of terrorism from a research perspective and identifying some of the gaps, limitations and barriers to effective research in this area.  The day concluded with an address by Pat O’Sullivan the manager of the Police Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in New Zealand and the FIU’s role in the changing regulatory environment.

A workshop on the final day provided delegates with an opportunity to apply some of the theory from the previous two days to the development of practical strategies that will facilitate preparation to meet the new obligations. 

All in all this was a very worthwhile and timely conference as the reality of the new developments and their consequences begin to take hold in New Zealand.

ACAMS was well represented in the speaking sessions, and maintained a stall during the two- day conference.  Board delegates fielded a number of enquiries about membership which we expect will be the catalyst for further growth in chapter numbers.

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