Fighting terrorists on the financial front

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Under Australia's Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Terrorism Financing legislation, introduced in 2006, all companies have identification and reporting obligations regarding the transfer of any monies - securities, bullion, FX, insurance, superannuation, gambling, fund and bank account transfers.

If money laundering's your thing, it's good news - jobs are on the up.

Steve Ingram, partner, forensics investigations at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and ex Federal Police and general fraud buster, says there has been a bit of regulatory fatigue, but the market is hiring now, especially offshore candidates with AML experience.

"It is going to become part of everyday business so there will be an upward curve in employment and then another upward curve. Constant reviews of systems and remediation will call for staff."

Bill Palmer, general manager, standards & public affairs at Australia's Institute of Chartered Accountants, doesn't seem quite as optimistic. He tells us: "The first tranche of legislation [which affected financial services providers] created some new demand for systems and training ... [but] until the second tranche is finalised, we can't tell what the impact will be."

But Julie Beesley, partner, forensic at Deloitte sides with Ingram. She says there's a particular shortage of senior money laundering types for large institutions. It helps that the Act stipulates that all organizations must have an AML compliance officer of management level. At big players, that will be a dedicated position, usually attended by a team.

Are there hirings at lower levels and in IT? "Absolutely," says Blaise Habgood at Bradman Recruitment: "We've been recruiting AML business analysts for some time. It is a constant stream."

Pay levels vary for the reasons you'd expect. Entry-level juniors in all risk areas generally earn AU$55k to $80k, with salaries rising to between $75k and $130k for those with three to five years' experience, according to salary survey figures from Robert Walters and Perceptor. More senior staff can command wages in excess of $200k, says Beesley at Deloitte. While bonuses are rare, packages usually include employer-paid superannuation of at least 9%.

Contract work, which is more common in money laundering than in other financial services sectors, pays $800 a day for mid-level people, says a money laundering recruiter, who asked not to be named.

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