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New anti-money laundering regulations for law firms from 1 July

June 18, 2018


Management Andrew Wong

Anti-money laundering (inc AML/CFT Act)

From 1 July 2018, New Zealand lawyers will need to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (Act). 

We explain this change below, and how it will impact the way we work with existing and new clients.

What is the impact of this change?

New Zealand law firms will need to have systems in place to conduct customer due diligence (CDD) on both new and existing clients. This will include verifying identity, address and in some cases source of wealth and source of funds. Lawyers will also be required to report any suspicious activity to the appropriate authority. 

Our Terms of Engagement (available on our website) have been updated to reflect this change.

What does this mean for new clients of Simpson Grierson?

From 1 July 2018, before we can start work for a new client we will need to obtain satisfactory evidence to complete CDD.  This includes verifying and documenting identity, address and business structure. The information required will vary depending on whether the client is an individual, partnership, company, public body, estate or trust. CDD will also include identifying any beneficial owner(s) and person(s) acting on behalf of a client.

What does this mean for existing clients of Simpson Grierson?

From 1 July 2018 we will also need to carry out CDD on existing clients, which will be done on a gradual basis. We will contact existing clients to let them know when this will happen and what information will be needed. We are required to do this even though we may have known you for some time, and even though we may have asked for some identity documentation before (as the new requirements are more extensive than any that previously applied). 

In addition, if a new instruction from an existing client specifically involves an activity covered by the Act then we may be required to complete CDD before we can start work on the project.

Who can I contact for more information?

If you require more information please contact the Simpson Grierson partner who you usually work with or Andrew Wong, our Finance Director.