Why do we need to ask for information

New Zealand has passed a law called the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (“AML/CFT”). The purpose of AML/CFT reflects New Zealand’s commitment to the international initiative to counter the impact that criminal activity has on people and economies globally.

AML/CFT now applies to lawyers. AML/CFT requires us to do a number of things to help combat money laundering and terrorist financing, and to help Police bring the criminals who do it to justice. AML/CFT does this because the services we offer as a law firm may be attractive to those involved in criminal activity.

AML/CFT says that we must assess the risk they may face from the actions of money launderers and people who finance terrorism and to identify potentially suspicious activity.

To make that assessment we must obtain and verify information from you about a range of matters. This is part of what AML/CFT calls “customer due diligence” (‘CDD’).

CDD requires us to undertake certain background checks before providing services to you. We must take reasonable steps to make sure the information we receive from you is correct, and so we need to ask for documents that show this.

We will need to obtain and verify certain information from you to meet these legal requirements. This information includes: your full name; your date of birth; and your address.

To confirm these details, documents such as your driver’s licence or your birth certificate, and documents that show your address, such as a current bank statement will be required.

If you are seeing us about company or trust business, we will need information about the company or trust including the people associated with it (such as directors and shareholders, trustees and beneficiaries).

We may also need to ask you for further information. We will need to ask you about the nature and purpose of the proposed work you are asking us to do for you. Information confirming the source of funds for a transaction may also be necessary to meet the legal requirements.

If we are not able to obtain the required information from you, we will not be able to act for you.

Before we start working for you, we will let you know what information we need, and what documents you need to show us and let us copy.

Please contact the lawyer or Legal Executive who will be undertaking your work, if you have any queries or concerns.