Twelve financial entities have been officially warned by the regulator after they were found to be in breach of anti-money laundering law.

The Financial Markets Authority requested information from 77 reporting entities - around 10 per cent of those it monitors - on how they handle anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism risks.

The entities were due to submit audits to the FMA by November 25.

Of the 12 that were found to be non-compliant with the law nine did not provide an audit, two did not respond at all and one did not submit an annual report as legally required.

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Entities are required to get their AML and CFT programmes audited every two years and have to submit it to a regulator when requested.

Liam Mason, director of regulation at the FMA, said the regulation had been in place for more than three years.

"Firms and individuals have now had sufficient time to meet the legal requirements.

"We have taken proportionate action to ensure all reporting entities are clear about their obligations under the law."

The FMA said it chose not to name the 12 companies and individuals as there were either small businesses or individuals and naming them would have had a disproportionate effect.

All nine of the companies who failed to provide an audit were now taking steps to do.

The FMA said it would be taking further steps against the two reporting entities who didn't respond to its requests and the single reporting entity that failed to provide its annual AML/CFT report if they fail to respond to its warnings.

Mason said independent audits were an essential component of complying with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act to help ensure reporting entities have robust systems and processes in place.