Anti-Money Laundering – Why are you talking to me about it?!

Anti-Money Laundering - Legal Solutions NZ

Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML/CFT Act)

You may feel a little taken aback when we ask you to produce proof of who you are for anti-money laundering purposes, but consider the part you are playing on the world stage!

What is this AML? Why do we need it?

In passing the AML/CFT Act, New Zealand, along with countries around the world, took another step in the fight against drugs and terrorism. The purpose of the law reflects our country’s commitment to countering the impact criminal activity has on people and economies within the global community.

Both white collar and street-criminals use money laundering to hide and legitimise the profits of crime. The money from the criminal activity is considered “dirty”, and the process “launders” it to make it look clean. A range of innovative methods are used to clean money and those who finance terrorism use similar methods to hide their tracks.

The Act aims to deter criminals by making it harder for them to integrate ill-gotten gains into the legitimate financial system. It helps protect all of us from financial crime, slow the drug and arms trades, and maintain our country’s international reputation.

What does it mean for you?
Before we can act for you we need to obtain and verify information from you to meet the AML/CFT legal requirements.

We must carefully verify every new and existing customer’s identity and the source of all money used in a transaction (e.g. purchase of your house or business).

If you are seeing us about company or trust business, we will need information about that company or trust, including its source of wealth and the people associated with it (such as directors and shareholders, trustees and beneficiaries). These people will need to provide their identity and address verification too.

Because the law applies to everyone, we need to ask for the information even if you have been a client of ours for a long time.

We must take reasonable steps to make sure that the information we receive from you is correct, so we need to see your original documents or verify the information using digital databases.

This information includes:

  • Your full name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your residential address.

Depending on the type of work we are doing for you, we may also need you to provide documents showing:

  • Source of Funds (where the money you are using comes from)

e.g. payslips, a letter from a lawyer detailing your inheritance or sale of property, sale and purchase agreement, annual accounts, gift, etc.

  • Source of Wealth (where the existing wealth in a company or trust comes from)

e.g. annual accounts, sale and purchase agreement.

Don’t worry, we’ll talk it over and let you know what we need to see for your particular circumstances.

So, when we ask you for information for anti-money laundering purposes, share it with pride that we’re all doing our part – take the stage and let’s save the world together!