Back in 2009, New Zealand brought in a law designed to protect against money laundering and financing terrorism. Funnily enough, it is called the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009.
As of the 1st October 2018, there have been some changes to the law that will affect you if you work with anyone in a legal or financial profession. That means your lawyer or accountant.
So, here at Cleaver Partners, we will be legally required to comply with the changes. Let’s look into what the law involves, what it means for you, and what you should expect going forward.
What Is The Anti Money Laundering Law?
The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (we will call it the AML law for ease in this article) was introduced to show New Zealand’s commitment to counter the impact that criminal activity has on people and economies within the global community.
Basically, New Zealand is showing that we will not stand for crime of any kind on our shores. As with many things, the actions of a very small criminal minority are causing a need for reform on the way simple things are handled.
Recent changes to the AML Law has meant that from the 1st October 2018, accountants are now required to comply with its requirements. The law states that accountants need to do a number of things to help combat money laundering and terrorist financing. We need to do our part to help the Police bring any criminals who do it to justice.
Why the sudden reform?
Well, the AML law has been changed as it was recognised that the services accountants and other professionals offer may be attractive to those involved in criminal activity.
So, we are now required to note that we may be at risk from the actions of money launderers. It is our responsibility to identify potentially suspicious activity.
What Does That Mean For You?
As part of the new requirements, we need to complete ‘due diligence’ on every single person that we work with. That includes our trusted existing clients and brand new ones.
What that means is that we need to undertake certain background checks before providing services to any new clients or customers. Basically, we need to verify that you are who you say you are. So, we need to ask you to provide identification and proof of your address.
This certainly doesn’t mean we have any questions about your character. It simply means that we are required to verify your identity by law. We have an appointed compliance officer here at Cleavers to ensure things run smoothly with the AML law changes.
What You Should Expect Going Forward
Despite the changes in legislation, it will be business as usual at Cleaver Partners.
If you are an existing client here then you do not have to do anything unless you have started a new job or have acquired a new entity.
The regulations do require us to verify the identity of all other individuals. There will also be verification required for Companies and Trusts. But they are slightly more complicated as there tend to be more people involved - Trustees, Directors, Shareholders and Beneficiaries. If you have any queries in this area, then don’t hesitate to get in touch and discuss it with us further.
All new clients will be required to provide identification stating your full name and date of birth. We request that you supply your passport, driver’s license or birth certificate. You will also need to provide documentation that verifies your address, like a bank statement or utility bill.
If you are unable to provide us with these documents, then it is unlikely that we will be able to act for you.
So, there you go. The new changes to the AML law in a nutshell and how it will impact you! If you have any queries or concerns about the new regulations, then please feel free to get in touch with Fergus Cleaver or the team here at Cleaver Partners.