Susan Brunton
Published on
Gibson Sheat obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (the Act) reflects New Zealand’s commitment to the international initiative to counter the impact of criminal activity on people and economies within the global community.

On 1 July 2018, lawyers were brought under the regime and compliance with the Act came into effect. The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) regulates and monitors our compliance with the Act and is responsible for reporting any breaches.

The Act requires us to do a number of things to help combat money laundering and terrorist financing to assist the Police in bringing criminals to justice. Preventative measures are imposed on lawyers and other professionals where services they offer may be seen as attractive to those involved in criminal activity.

Under the Act, we must assess the risks we may face from the actions of money launderers and people who finance terrorism, and identify potentially suspicious activity.

To make this assessment we must obtain and verify information from prospective and existing clients about a range of things. This is part of what the Act calls ‘customer due diligence’ (CDD).

CDD requires us to gather and verify certain information from a client to meet these legal requirements. This information includes the client’s:

  1. full name,
  2. date of birth, and
  3. address.

To confirm these details, documents such as a passport or driver’s licence will be required for identification purposes together with documents that show the client’s current address, such as a bank statement or utility bill.

For company or trust business, we will need details about the company or trust including the people associated with it (such as directors and shareholders, trustees and beneficiaries).

In some cases, to meet our legal obligations, we will require further information such as the nature and purpose of the proposed work the client is requesting us to do, and documentation confirming the source of wealth (in the case of a trust).

Even if we have been acting for a client for many years we may still require to conduct CDD on them. Ultimately the Act requires us to obtain this information for all clients we act for.

Before we start working for a client, they will be provided with details of our CDD procedure and what will be required. If we are not able to obtain this information, we may not be able to act for them.

For queries relating to AML/CFT and our associated procedures please contact:

Susan Brunton – Risk and Compliance Manager