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Anti-Money Laundering

Keeping NZ safe from money launderers

From 1 July 2018 all law firms will need to comply with the requirements of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML for short).

By law we must meet strict requirements, including asking you for additional information.

New Zealand is currently regarded as one of the safest and least corrupt countries in the world.  The AML legislation reflects our country’s commitment to maintaining this position.

Law firms now must take steps to assess the risk faced from the actions of money launderers, from people who finance terrorism, and any suspicious activity carried out by those dealing with law firms.

This will also help other countries transact with NZ firms confidently, knowing that money sent into or out of NZ is not tainted by the proceeds of crime.  Banks have been complying with the AML legislation since 2013; now it’s the lawyers turn.

It’s important to understand the reason for the legislation and why you will be asked for this additional information.

 

We must verify your identify

From 1 July onwards, we must verify the identity of all of our clients to help ensure all transactions are legitimate.  This is called “customer due diligence”.

We need to verify your full name, date of birth, and address, so we will ask you for documents such as your passport or driver’s licence or birth certificate.  Documents that show your address (such as a current bank statement or rates demand) will also be required.

There may be situations where we must ask you for more details about the nature and purpose of the work you are asking us to do. As well, we may have to ask for more information confirming the source of your funds for a transaction.

 

New and existing clients

The law applies to everyone and we need to ask for this information even if you have been a client of ours for a long time.  Once we have this information from you we may need to update it from time to time as your circumstances, and the work you ask us to do for you, change.

Before we start working on a particular matter for you we’ll let you know what information we need.

Once these new requirements have been in place for some time they will become familiar and there should be very little inconvenience to you or to us.

 

If you would like to understand more about AML, our Partner, Phil Hyde is happy to help.   Contact Phil on 07 834 6153 or  phil.hyde@nwm.co.nz