I have had the pleasure of being part of the Advisory Group for the Ministry of Justice in relation to the Anti-Money Laundering Legislation (a lot more interesting than it sounds). Ok, before you doze off or flick over to the next page, THIS COULD AFFECT YOU.
New Zealand passed the Anti-Money Laundering Legislation (known as “AML”) to reflect New Zealand’s commitment to the international initiative to counter the impact that criminal activity has on people and economies worldwide.
This law states that from 1 July 2018, lawyers must also assess the risk they may face from possible money launderers, people who finance terrorism, and they must identify potentially suspicious activity. To make these assessments lawyers must obtain and verify information from clients about a range of things. This is called “customer due diligence”.
How does this affect me?
Therefore, when you engage us as your lawyer, whether you are buying or selling property, purchasing a right to occupy a retirement unit, setting up a family trust, or in many other instances, we will need to do customer due diligence on you. (There are some exceptions including Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney.)
The information you will need to provide is very similar to the information you would provide to your Bank to open an account.
You will need to provide to your lawyer the following information:
- Your full name; and
- Your date of birth; and
- Your physical address.
This information must be verified. To verify this information, you must produce your identification, eg, Passport, Firearms Licence, Driver Licence, Birth Certificate, and also documents that show your current address, eg, bank statement, utility bill. Further details can be found on Proof of Identification and Address PDF
If you are part of a Family Trust then each trustee must provide this information, and in many instances, your beneficiaries also.
When is this information needed?
This information is required as soon as you engage your lawyer to attend to the work for you, in other words at the start of the transaction, not halfway through.
What if I do not provide the information?
If we are not able to obtain the required information from you, it is likely that we will be unable to act for you. The law applies to everyone and we need to ask for the information even if you have been a client for a long time.
Please be assured that your lawyer knows what is required and will lead you through what you need to provide. Any concerns or queries should be directed to your lawyer sooner rather than later to ensure that your transaction is not held up because customer due diligence has not been completed. Please also see Proof of Identification and Address PDF
Note: Katherine’s Blog is not a substitute for legal advice, please contact your lawyer.