You may be aware of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (the “AML/CFT” law), which has been in force for some years now. To date, it has mainly affected banks and other financial or investment entities. The purpose of the law 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.
From 1 July 2018, lawyers are required to comply with the AML/CFT Law. This law requires us to do a number of things to help combat money laundering and terrorist financing, and assist the Police bring criminals to justice. The AML/CFT law does this because the services law firms and other professionals offer may be seen as an attractive to those involved in criminal activity.
After 1 July 2018, we will be required to file reports within 10 working days of receiving or paying funds internationally through our trust account, in excess of $1,000. These reports are mandatory and are filed with the FIU, which is the financial intelligence arm of the Police.
Lawyers must also obtain and verify information from prospective and existing clients, primarily concerning themselves and the nature of their activities. This is part of what the AML/CFT law calls “customer due diligence” (‘CDD’).
CDD requires us to obtain and verify certain information from you. This information includes:
- your full name; and
- your date of birth; and
- your address.
To confirm these details, documents such as your passport, and accounts or statements that show your address, (such as a recent utility bill), will be required.
If you are seeing us about 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).
In some cases, we will also need to ask you for further information, such as 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 we are not able to obtain the required information from you, we may not be able to act for you.
We may require this information from you even though we have been acting for you for many years. Ultimately, the law requires all law firms to obtain this information in relation to all clients they act for.
Before we start any new work for you, we will let you know what information we need, and what documents you need to show us and let us photocopy. However, it will save time if you can bring your passport and a recent utility bill with you to your next appointment with us. If you do not have a passport, there are other documents that can be used to establish your identity, and we invite you to contact us in that case. Please speak to the person you usually deal with at Glaister Ennor.