AUSTRAC examines Bell Financial Group entities

AUSTRAC has ordered the appointment of an external auditor to three entities within the Bell Financial Group, including Bell Potter Securities Limited, Bell Potter Capital Limited and Third Party Platform Pty Ltd.

The appointed external auditor would be authorised by AUSTRAC to assess the three entities’ compliance with two anti money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) legislations.

The financial intelligence agency said it had identified compliance concerns following a period of engagement with the Australian-based Bell Financial Group which deals in stockbroking, foreign exchange, loans, investment and financial advisory services.

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The extent of the auditor’s examination would be determined by AUSTRAC and would be at Bell Financial Group’s expense.

The auditor would be tasked with examining the three entities’ compliance with having a AML/CTF program in place, engaging in an ongoing customer due diligence program, reporting suspicious matters and maintaining enrolment details within required timeframes.

AUSTRAC chief executive, Nicole Rose PSM said the AML/CTF regime was in place to protect businesses, the financial system and the Australian community from criminal threats.

“Australian financial services businesses have a responsibility to ensure they devote the necessary resources and processes to comply with their AML/CTF obligations under the law,” she said.

“We will continue to work closely with Bell Financial Group to address any compliance concerns, and take action where any businesses that we regulate are failing to appropriately protect themselves and Australia’s financial system from criminal activity.”

The external auditor would need to report to the financial intelligence agency within 180 days of being appointed and the outcomes of the audit would assist the three businesses with their compliance and inform AUSTRAC whether any further regulatory action was required.

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