NZ regulator issues formal warning to Tiger Brokers over AML breaches

Maria Nikolova

The FMA’s findings show Tiger Brokers has failed to adequately conduct enhanced and ongoing customer due diligence where required.

New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority (FMA) today announces that it has issued a formal warning to NZX-accredited broker Tiger Brokers (NZ) Limited for failing to have several adequate anti-money laundering protections in place.

According to the FMA, Tiger Brokers had failed to:

  • adequately conduct enhanced and ongoing customer due diligence where required.
  • adequately verify relevant customer identification documents.
  • obtain adequate source of fund or wealth information relating to high risk customers, and take reasonable steps to verify that information.
  • report suspicious activity to the relevant authorities within three working days after forming a suspicion.
  • take reasonable steps to determine whether a customer or any beneficial owner, is a politically exposed person.

The regulator has determined there were reasonable grounds to believe the business had contravened the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act.

Tiger Brokers must prepare and submit a plan to the regulator before April 17, 2020 describing how and when it will amend the issues to become compliant. It must then complete these actions by September 30, 2020 or it will face enforcement action.

The regulator has also privately warned six other businesses for their AML practices, mainly due to late auditing of their systems and controls.

The FMA issued formal warnings to six other firms after finding:

  • Four failed to have their AML risk assessment and program audited in a timely manner;
  • One failed to provide an audit of its AML risk assessment and program;
  • One failed to have an AML program in place, undertake a risk assessment, and designate an employee to administer and maintain the program. This entity has undertaken remedial action due to the nature and extent of its breaches.

James Greig, Head of Supervision at the FMA, explains, “We decided not to name the other six businesses after considering the proportionate regulatory response. All of these firms in breach were either small businesses or individuals, and they are cooperating with the FMA and taking steps to become compliant.”

The FMA identified the issues with Tiger Brokers and the other companies as part of its ongoing monitoring of around 800 businesses that report to the regulator under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act.

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