New anti-money laundering regulations for law firms from 1 July
From 1 July 2018, all New Zealand lawyers must comply with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (“AML/CFT”).
This change requires us to collect and verify information about our clients.
How does this change the impact on us and our clients?
New Zealand law firms are now required to have systems in place to conduct customer due diligence (“CDD”) on both new and existing clients. This will include verifying their identity, address and in some cases source of wealth and source of funds. Lawyers will also be required to report any suspicious activity to the appropriate authority.
Our Terms of Engagement have been updated to reflect this change.
How does this affect new clients?
From 1 July 2018, before we can start work for a new client we will need to obtain satisfactory evidence to complete CDD. This includes collecting and verifying identity, address and business structure information. What information is required will vary depending on whether the client is an individual, partnership, company, public entity, estate or trust. CDD will also include identifying any beneficial owner(s) and person(s) acting on behalf of a client.
How does this affect existing clients?
From 1 July 2018 we will also need to carry out CDD on existing clients, which will be done progressively. We will be in contact with existing clients to let them know when this will happen and what information will be required. We are required to do this even though we may have known and acted for you for some time, and even though we may have asked for some identity documentation before (as the new requirements are more extensive than what was previously required).
In addition, where a new instruction from an existing client specifically involves an activity covered by the Act then we will be required to complete CDD before we can start work.
If you require more information please contact us to discuss.