New Zealand’s FMA Warns 5 businesses over Lack of AML and CFT Auditing

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) of New Zealand has issued formal warnings to 5 separate business entities, as a result of their lack of compliance with the Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act.

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Under section 80 of the AML/CFT Act, each business or entity is required to be audited at least once every 2 years, with respect to their risk assessment and AML/CFT operations. The FMA is handling its responsibilities, with regards to the rigorous task of stopping of money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The FMA conducts an annual review, by inspecting audit report files and assessing the operations and planned activities of the audited entities, in order to assure proper compliance with local financial laws.

This year’s review included a total of 64 entities, which led to 5 formal warnings. For comparison, last year, the FMA reviewed 77 reporting entities, of which 12 received similar warnings.

As mentioned, the results of the review saw 5 entities receive official warnings, due to their lack of compliance with the requirement to be audited once every two years. These entities failed to do so, and in turn received the aforementioned warnings.

Moreover, the FMA has also sent compliance letters to the 5 entities, asking for additional information and even asking for some unspecified follow up actions, in order to adhere to the laws of the AML/CFT Act.

The FMA’s statement further elaborates that they will conduct 6 monitoring visits, in an effort to ensure the proper and comprehensive compliance with the law and the authority’s requests.

The FMA’s Director of Regulation, Liam Mason, commented: “Our monitoring in this space shows the vast majority of entities we supervise meet their legal requirements to tackle money laundering and the financing of terrorism. It is only fair to take action against those who don’t.”

Furthermore, the FMA has not specified the names of the 5 entities, although the official statement of the authority’s website says they are all either small businesses or individuals.

The FMA has been highly active in assessing the conditions of financial activities in the region. These assessments of market participants have led to warnings issued against brokers and financial companies, which fail to comply with regulatory confinements under its jurisdiction.

The FMA has also collaborated with CONSOB to relay warnings on its website, as a method of reaching more investors and protecting their funds from unlawful activities.

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