As you will no doubt be aware, from 1 July 2018 all law firms will be subject to the requirements of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML for short). At first glance you may wonder why we must adhere to these very strict requirements and why you will be asked for additional information.
New Zealand is currently regarded as one of the safest and least corrupt countries in the world; it’s important that we retain this position. As an export nation we rely on other countries being confident that they can send money to New Zealand and also to receive money knowing that it is not being tainted by the proceeds of crime.
Banks have been complying with the AML legislation since 2013; we must now be part of the process to help prevent criminal activity and the transfer of the proceeds of crime.
We must verify your identity
From 1 July onwards, as part of the AML customer due diligence, we must verify the identity of all our clients; this will help legitimise each client’s transaction.
While you are already familiar with providing your driver’s licence as ID, we will now need additional information such as a copy of your birth certificate and a current bank statement, or rates demand, to verify your full name, date of birth and address.
There may be situations where we must ask you about the nature and purpose of the proposed work you are asking us to do. As well, we may require information confirming the source of the funds for a transaction.
Checking for every new matter
The law applies to everyone and all transactions where money is received and/or paid through our trust account – for every new matter.
For our part, we must file regular reports with the appropriate authorities detailing the transactions we have dealt with and also notifying them of any suspicious activity. Once these new requirements have been operating for some time we will all become familiar with them and it will not cause any inconvenience. However, it’s important to understand the reason for the legislation and why you will be asked for this additional information.
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