Licensees under the Property, Stock & Business Agents Act 2002 must hold clients’ funds in a trust account. The trust account must be kept at an authorised deposit-taking institution in NSW.
Approved deposit-taking institutions
The Secretary has approved the following authorised deposit-taking institutions:
- Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ)
- Bananacoast Community Credit Union Ltd
- Bank of Queensland
- Bank of Sydney Ltd
- Bendigo Bank Limited
- Berrima District Credit Union Ltd
- Coastline Credit Union Ltd
- Commonwealth Bank
- Community CPS Australia Limited (trading as Beyond Bank Australia Limited)
- Delphi Bank
- Greater Bank Ltd
- Holiday Coast Credit Union Ltd
- HSBC Bank Australia Limited
- Hume Bank Limited
- Illawarra Mutual Building Society Limited
- Macquarie Bank Limited
- Maitland Mutual Building Society Ltd
- National Australia Bank Limited
- Newcastle Permanent Building Society Ltd
- Regional Australia Bank Ltd
- St. George Bank Limited
- Southern Cross Credit Union Ltd
- The Summerland Credit Union Ltd
- Suncorp-Metway Ltd
- Unity Bank Limited
- WAW Credit Union Co-operative Ltd
- Westpac Banking Corporation.
Requirements when opening a trust account
When opening a trust account, there are a few requirements you must follow:
- Licensees need to notify the authorised deposit-taking institution in writing that it is a “trust account” as required under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002.
- If the trust account is held by a corporation, the account must be in the name of the corporation.
- If not, the trust account must be in the name of the licensee or the firm.
- The name of the licensee, firm or corporation needs to appear as a prefix of the account name, followed by any other necessary identifier of the trust account.
- The words 'Trust Account' must also appear in the name of the trust account and all cheques drawn on the trust account.
Unique identifying numbers for general trust accounts
Under the Property Stock and Business Agents Regulation 2014:
- A licensee who opens a trust account must provide the authorised deposit-taking institution (bank) with a unique identifying number obtained from NSW Fair Trading (through NSW OneGov).
- The authorised deposit-taking institution lodges its monthly returns using this unique identifying number.
- Licensees maintaining a trust account that was opened prior to 31 December 2014 must also obtain a Unique Identifying Number and have it registered by their authorised deposit taking institution (Bank).
Each trust account needs a unique identifying number. You will need to register each account separately if you looks after multiple trust accounts. Nominate which unique identifying number is associated with each account with your bank. If the trust account is held by a corporation, the trust account must be registered using the corporation's licence number.
NSW OneGov will provide licensees with the necessary form(s) to notify the authorised deposit-taking institution in writing that a new or existing trust account has been registered, and a unique identifying number issued.
Where do I register online?
Access the NSW OneGov - Trust account registration page to get a unique identifying number for new and existing trust accounts you intend to open or maintain. Enter your licence number and email address and NSW OneGov will send you a confirmation email with a notification form in duplicate attached. Print the forms and lodge them with your financial institution and keep the duplicate once stamped by the financial institution.
Unclaimed trust money
Go to our unclaimed trust money page to report unclaimed trust money held for more than 2 years by a licensee or former licensee or personal representative of a deceased licensee.
Authorised deposit-taking institutions’ requirements
The Act sets out requirements for approved authorised deposit-taking institutions with regard to:
- calculating interest on agents' trust accounts,
- paying a prescribed proportion of interest earned on agents' trust accounts to the Property Services, Statutory Interest Account
- monthly reporting to the Secretary, and
- annual auditor’s certificate to the Secretary.
Exempt trust accounts
You are not required to notify NSW Fair Trading when opening a separate trust account:
- on the instructions of the client to whom those funds belong, or
- for the exclusive benefit of a vendor and purchaser of land.
Requirements when closing a trust account
A licensee must, within 14-days after closing a trust account, notify Fair Trading online through NSW OneGov.
The licensee must keep the trust account closure confirmation notice for three years.
IMPORTANT: The following 'green form' is being phased out. It may be used in the interim to notify Fair Trading that a general trust account, not yet registered with NSW OneGov, has been closed.
Before 1 January 2015, you could use this form to legally notify Fair Trading of closing a trust account.
The 'green form' needed to be signed by the licensee (in duplicate):
- Original – sent by the agent to NSW Fair Trading, Locked Bag 5066, Parramatta NSW 2144 within 14 days after closing the trust account.
- Copy – kept by the agent.