AML: What this means for the way we will work together

We want to advise you of law changes that will apply to all lawyers and their clients from 1 July 2018.  These laws already apply to banks and financial service providers; and are known as AML (Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009).

AML has been in place in New Zealand since 2013. The laws will also apply to accountants from 1 October 2018 and Real Estate Agents after 1 January 2019.

Why AML?
AML is a global initiative with certain countries who have agreed to adopt AML systems. The systems include practical measures to make it harder for criminals to profit from and fund illegal activity; and to restrict funds to terrorist organisations.

The New Zealand Government has chosen to implement AML systems in stages, with July 2018 being when lawyers and conveyancers join the regime.

Some criminals try to use lawyers to help hold and move assets. Introducing AML measures will deter criminals from using our services and help us detect them if they do.

What this will mean for our clients
The law requires us to collect and verify information to show that we know our clients are who they say they are.

Whilst we may know a lot about our clients already, AML includes a set of rules that prescribe what we must do to complete ‘customer due diligence’ (CDD).  This includes collecting specific information from you, holding proof of ID and verification of your physical address.  In certain circumstances we will also be required to obtain evidence of the source of funds used to settle a transaction.

We may hold existing information that satisfies some of our CDD requirements and where we do, we will only request the documentation we need to complete the process.
At its simplest, this will be nothing more than sighting your passport and a document addressed to your usual residential address, and holding a copy for audit purposes.

For overseas clients, companies and trusts we will need more information and will let you know what we require at the time we request it from you.

For existing clients, we will update our CDD information next time we receive an instruction from you or when your circumstances change.

For new clients, we will need to complete CDD before we act on your instruction and will incorporate this into our new client engagement process.

It is important to understand that under AML, we are unable to continue to work with you if we cannot complete our required CDD. 

For more information on AML please contact our AML Compliance Officer: paul.gooby@awlegal.co.nz

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