As of 1 July 2018, lawyers and conveyancers are bound by the requirements of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (“the AML Act”). The Act reflects New Zealand’s commitment to the international initiative to counter the impact that criminal activity has on people and economies within the global community.
Purpose Of The Act
The purpose of the AML Act is to create a framework for the:
- detection and deterrence of money laundering and financing of terrorism;
- maintenance of New Zealand’s international reputation; and
- promotion of public confidence in New Zealand’s financial system.
In terms of how this affects you, we are required to obtain and verify documents that evidence your name, date of birth and address. Accordingly, we require the following from you:
Name & Date of Birth
Option 1: A copy of your Passport; OR
Option 2: A copy of your New Zealand Driver Licence and a copy of your full birth certificate.
(Please advise our office should you not have the above documents available to provide us)
Please provide us with one of the following documents evidencing your address that has been issued within the last 12 months:
- Utility or rates bill; or
- Telephone bill; or
- Bank statement received in the post (not an electronic version); or
- IRD tax notice or statement.
Why We Need To Ask You For Information
New Zealand has passed a law called the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (“the AML Act”). The purpose of the AML Act reflects New Zealand’s commitment to the international initiative to counter the impact that criminal activity has on people and economies within the global community.
Recent changes to the AML Act mean that from 1 July 2018 lawyers must comply with its requirements. Lawyers must do a number of things to help combat money laundering and terrorist financing, and to help Police bring the criminals who do it to justice. The AML Act does this because the services law firms and other professionals offer may be attractive to those involved in criminal activity. The law says that law firms and other professionals must assess the risk they may face from the actions of money launderers and people who finance terrorism and must identify potentially suspicious activity.
To make that assessment, lawyers must obtain and verify information from prospective and existing clients about a range of things. This is part of what the AML Act calls “customer due diligence”.
Customer Due Diligence Requirement
Customer due diligence requires a law firm to undertake certain background checks before providing services to clients or customers. Lawyers must take reasonable steps to make sure the information they receive from clients is correct, and so they need to ask for documents that show this.
If you are seeing us about a company or trust business, we will need information about the company or trust including the people associated with it (such as directors and shareholders, trustees and beneficiaries). We may also need to ask you for further information. We will need to ask you about the nature and purpose of the proposed work you are asking us to do for you. Information confirming the source of funds for a transaction may also be necessary to meet the legal requirements.
If You Cannot Provide The Required Information
If we are not able to obtain the required information from you, it is likely we will not be able to act for you. Because the law applies to everyone, we need to ask for the information even if you have been a client of ours for a long time.
Before we start working for you, we will let you know what information we need, and what documents you need to show us and let us photocopy.
Please contact the lawyer who will be undertaking your work, if you have any queries or concerns.