Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to present a comparative position of the extent of commonality or diversity in the rationale, objectives, processes used and outcomes achieved by financial intelligence agencies in India and Australia. An effective financial-intelligence unit (FIU) can make a significant contribution to combating serious financial crimes nationally and internationally. Design/methodology/approach - The agencies in these two countries are compared using the framework for assessment of financial regulatory agencies - suitably modified to capture the specialist role of such agencies. Information available at the web site of the two agencies has been used. Findings - The study shows several commonalities and differences in the financial intelligence agencies in the two countries and points to operational and policy changes required in making the units more effective. Originality/value - It is hoped that the study would encourage similar studies in respect of other FlUs and help in contributing to making the global financial-intelligence regime more robust.