The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry has seen the Big 4 Banks come under fire for a number of things, including their ‘take it or leave it’ attitude to the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Funding (CTF) Act. In 2017, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) brought charges against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) for contravening the Act, and were treated to a cool $700 million penalty which barely made a dent in CBA’s fiscal 2018 cash profit of $9.9 billion.

The fallout from these charges and others alike, has resulted in an industry-wide crackdown on the enforcement of AML/CTF policies. Among other things, the Act mandates that you must identify and verify a customer’s full name, residential address and date of birth. While this seems pretty straight forward it’s causing headaches for customers who have used aliases in the past. John or Jack, Anthony or Tony, Amanda or Mandy, James or Jim and Susan or Sue are just a few examples of common aliases which have caused problems when adhering to AML/CTF obligations.

Different spelling variations of the same name have also been put under the microscope and in some cases, have required statutory declarations to confirm that the likes of Anne or Ann and Marie or Maree are one and the same person. Some financial institutions have gone as far as requiring your share holdings to be updated if your middle initial is only noted as ‘A’ on the registry, but your identification spells out your full middle name of ‘Albert’.

Locally, one of the problems we have had in the Rockhampton office is the change in suburbs as the city continues to expand. What was once Rockhampton is now broken up into several different suburbs such as Allenstown, North Rockhampton, Koongal etc. Although identification documents (Drivers Licence) might reflect the correct suburb of ‘Allenstown’ long standing bank accounts or shares acquired many moons ago may reflect the original suburb of ‘Rockhampton’. This small difference causes issues under the Act when identifying and verifying a client’s residential address.

It might be a good idea to do a bit of a tidy up of your financial affairs if you’ve had issues in the past with the spelling of your name or if you use an alias. Ensuring your address is up to date and your personal information matches your identification is another good habit to keep. A few places where we have encountered discrepancies include Wills, Power of Attorney documents, Holding Statements and Bank Statements.

Please note this article is provided as general advice only and has not taken your personal or financial circumstances into consideration. If you would like more tailored financial advice, please contact us today. One of our advisers would be delighted to speak with you.