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Suspicious Matter Reports (SMRs) assist the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) in identifying and combating illegal financial activities such as terrorism financing, money laundering, and other financial crimes. Regulated entities operating in Australia, including financial institutions, money transfer businesses and casinos, must report any suspicious activity or transactions to the AUSTRAC. In this article, we will take you through how to submit a Suspicious Matter Report to AUSTRAC. 

 

Step 1: Identify Suspicious Activity 

As a regulated entity, you must have a suspicious matter reporting policy in place that outlines what activities qualify as suspicious. Some of the common red flags to watch out for include:

  • Large cash deposits
  • Money transfers to high-risk nations
  • Requests for anonymity or impersonation
  • Unusual transactions

Once you identify a suspicious activity, start gathering as much information as possible to support your report. Details such as names, addresses, descriptions of individuals or entities involved, transaction amounts, and dates will be necessary. 

 

Step 2: Prepare and Submit the Report 

SMRs are submitted using AUSTRAC’s online reporting portal. To access the portal, you will require an AUSTRAC identification number (AIN) and an AUSkey, which AUSTRAC provides. Before you submit the report, ensure that all relevant information and details are included, as incomplete or inaccurate reports can delay the investigation process. AUSTRAC has a 10-day deadline for responding to Suspicious Matter Reports; hence, timely submission of accurate reports is critical. 

 

Step 3: Follow-up and Respond to AUSTRAC Feedback 

AUSTRAC may request additional information to support Suspicious Matter Reports or seek clarification if they find information in the report ambiguous. Regulated entities must respond to any AUSTRAC feedback within the timeframe specified, as failure to do so may lead to compliance issues.  

 

Step 4: Keep Accurate Records and Conduct Regular Reviews 

The law requires regulated entities to maintain accurate records of all submitted SMRs for at least seven years. Additionally, regular reviews and updates are necessary to ensure that your suspicious matter reporting policy stays relevant. This is especially important as red flags and risk factors can change, and your policy needs to stay current to identify and report any new suspicious activities. 

 

Step 5: Seek Professional Support 

While the submission of Suspicious Matter Reports may seem straightforward, it is a complex process that requires a deep understanding of the legal framework governing the process and compliance requirements. Seeking professional support from compliance experts can be helpful in ensuring the accuracy and completeness of your report and help you stay up to date with any changes to the legal framework. 

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, submitting Suspicious Matter Reports (SMRs) to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) is a critical compliance requirement for regulated entities operating in Australia. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can ensure that your organisation stays compliant and that the reports submitted are accurate and complete.