Recently-launched joint venture business Maxima has seen steady growth as a widening array of firms seek relief from anti-money laundering (AML) compliance headaches.
Guy Dobson, founder of financial education provider firm Dynamique, which partnered last year with fellow Wellington business Compliance Plus to form Maxima, said the widening AML net has been a “big driver” of growth for the business.
Maxima offers full-blooded AML audits – by Compliance Plus founder and former Financial Markets Authority specialist in the area, Uddhav Kirtikar – as well as staff training programs for the increasingly complex reporting regime in what Dobson said is a very competitive market.
However, he said firms caught under the AML regime should choose compliance solutions that match their specific business risks rather than assuming more is better.
“There’s a wide range of AML compliance services, and fees, but you need to choose one that’s right for your business and not make it more complex than necessary,” Dobson said.
The AML/CFT (Countering of Financial Terrorism) regime already applies to most of the financial services industry with lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, and ‘high value dealers’ (those selling items for cash value of $15,000 or more) due to be roped under the rules in the next year or so.
In its just-released CPD course schedule for 2018, Maxima lists AML duties that include requirements to:
- Vet and provide the required training to senior managers and relevant staff;
- Obtain and verify its customers’ identity and the nature and purpose of the business relationship with the customer;
- Obtain and depending on the risk of the situation, verify the source of the funds that the customer will be using in the transaction;
- Monitor its customers’ accounts to ensure that they align with the business relationship that was established and the customer’s finances;
- Report suspicious activity to the New Zealand Police’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU);
- Report all cash transactions over $10,000 and all wire transactions over $1,000 to the FIU;
- Keep records as required under the AML/CFT Act;
- Continue to manage and mitigate the money laundering and terrorist financing risks that have been identified and any new or emerging risks; and,
- Ensure that the AML/CFT programme is effectively implemented.
Dobson said while AML remains the topic du jour, the Maxima course list covers a mix of old industry standards (for example, foreign exchange) plus a few new or rebooted subjects such as exchange-traded funds, securities lending, responsible investing, and unit pricing.
“We’re a ‘technical financial’ firm,” he said.
Delivered online or by-appointment workshops as wholesale industry CPD services, the Maxima courses also include an investment basics program for retail investors.