Anti-Money Laundering and the Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (“AML-CFT Act”) has been in force in New Zealand since 2009.  From 1July 2018 it will apply fully to lawyers.  Later, in 2018 and 2019 it will also apply to accountants and real estate agents.  These changes affect our relationship with you as our client. 

Why we need to ask you for information

The legislation itself already applies to banks and other financial service providers and you may have come across more stringent requirements when dealing with such institutions.

The AML-CFT Act is designed to make it more difficult for criminals to profit from and fund illegal activity and also to restrict the flow of money to terrorist organisations.  You will know from news reports that some criminals use lawyers to hold and help move assets and the Act and its regulations are designed to deter criminals from doing so and to assist ourselves and the government in detecting this. 

Customer and Transaction Due Diligence

The Act requires that we know our clients and collect and verify information that our clients are who they say they are.  The Act has a set of rules we must follow to complete what is referred to as customer due diligence.  This includes the collection of information from you:

a)      Photographic identification; and

b)      Verification of your physical address; and

c)      Verification of your date of birth.    

On occasions we will also need to obtain evidence of the source of funds which you use in settling a transaction, your source of wealth and other general matters relating to transactions we undertake on your behalf. 

On most occasions we expect that our customer due diligence will only mean that we need to sight and make a copy of your passport and a document with your current residential address such as a bank statement, utility account or rates demand.  Helmore Ayers will keep this information to allow us to process your transaction.   It also needs to be available for audit purposes, for five years.  We may already hold your information which covers this, so will only ever request what is required for each separate transaction. 

As we will be holding your information, we will be in a position to provide certified copies to your bank and other people that you deal with, whenever this is needed. 

If you are a new client, Helmore Ayers is required to undertake customer due diligence before acting for you.  For existing clients of Helmore Ayers, we will update and request information required from time to time. 

We will require more extensive information about our overseas clients, and this will be requested when we begin to act for them, or undertake new transactions on their behalf.  

If you do not provide us with the required information

 We regret any inconvenience to you, but it is important that you understand that the AML-CFT Act requires us to obtain this information so that we are able to work with you, and without completing client and transaction due diligence as appropriate, we will not be able to complete the work that you instruct us to do.  

If you have any queries or wish to discuss please call Peter O’Dea (petero@helmores.co.nz) or Alan Bruce (alan@helmores.co.nz) on 03 366 5086.