From 1 July 2018, lawyers will be subject to the rules and procedures in the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (“AML Act”).
The AML Act is aimed primarily to prevent proceeds of crime from being laundered through lawyer’s trust accounts.
In brief, the AML Act requires us to properly verify our clients' identities, to monitor their monetary transactions and to report any 'suspicious' activities to appropriate authorities.
Our compliance with the AML Act will change how we now act for you in that:
BEFORE ACTING FOR YOU:
• Besides obtaining your photo ID, we will now need to verify your identity to a satisfactory standard before we can act for you (or continue to act for you), e.g checking your name and personal information against a government agency database such as NZ Transport Authority.
• If you are coming to us through a trust, an estate, a company or another entity, additional information about the trust/company/entity/executors we will need to obtain, including verifying the identity of all legal and beneficial owners, before we can act.
WHEN ACTING FOR YOU:
• In certain circumstances, we may need to collect information about the source of the funds being used in a transaction, or the source of the wealth of the client.
• We must monitor all of your transactions that go through our trust account for money laundering risks, and report any suspicious activity to the Police Financial Intelligence Unit.
Please appreciate that we have to strictly comply with the AML Act and that means unless the identity verification and information collection and assessment processes are properly followed, we are unable to act for you until this information has been collected (and assessed).
We will adopt the best systems and processes to ensure that we collect the required information from you in the most time and cost effective manner.
Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. If you have any queries regarding this new process or the AML requirements, or simply wish to know more, please do not hesitate to contact us.