New Zealand has passed a law called the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML/CFT for short). The purpose of the law reflects New Zealand’s commitment to countering the impact criminal activity has on people and economies within the global community.
From 1 July 2018 lawyers must comply with these new rules. This will help towards the prevention of international money laundering and terrorist financing. Lawyers must obtain and verify information from prospective and existing clients about a range of things. This is part of what AML/CFT law calls ‘customer due diligence’.
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 that the information they receive from clients is correct, and so we need to ask to see original documents that show this.
Before we can act for you we need to obtain and verify information from you to meet the AML/CFT legal requirements. This information includes:
To confirm these details, documents will be required. We need to sight these documents in order to act for you.
If you are seeing us about company or trust related business, we will also need information about that company or trust including the people associated with it (such as directors and shareholders, trustees and beneficiaries). These people will also need to provide their identity and address verification.
We will also need to ask you about the nature and purpose of the proposed work you are asking us to do for you. Information including the source of funds for a transaction may also be necessary to meet the legal requirements imposed on us.
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.
For further information, please give us a call to discuss.