From 1 January the AML law will apply to real estate agents in New Zealand. This article is just to give you an introduction.
WHAT IS AML?
AML means Anti-Money Laundering. AML law* has been in place in New Zealand since 2013. AML law is aimed at detecting and deterring criminals engaged in money-laundering and the financing of terrorism. AML law already applies to New Zealand banks and financial institutions, as well as lawyers and accountants – as the services they offer could be used by criminals to launder money.
WHAT IS CUSTOMER DUE DILIGENCE?
From 1 January, before we do business with you, we will need to obtain certain information from you – in order to satisfy ourselves that you are not going to use our services to facilitate crime. This is called customer due diligence.
By law, we are not able to provide services to you until our customer due diligence is complete. We are required to carry out customer due diligence on new customers and existing customers – and we’ll need to carry out customer due diligence on you even if you have been a customer of ours for a long time.
WHAT INFORMATION DO WE NEED?
We will need your full name, your date of birth and your address. To make sure you are you say you are, we also need evidence of that information. To make the process as simple as possible for you, we plan to use electronic verification – which is where we confirm your identity using electronic databases. We’ll also ask you to provide a self-portrait using a smartphone, which we can ‘match’ against the photo on your ID. If for any reason we can’t verify your identity electronically we’ll ask you to provide photo identification like your passport or current driver’s licence and also documents that show your address, such as a bank account statement or utility bill. You’ll need to [bring those documents to us] or have them certified by a lawyer or other trusted person.
WHAT ABOUT TRUSTS AND COMPANIES?
For trusts and for other customers which are not individuals, like companies, we’ll need to collect information not only about the trust or company but also about the individuals associated with it (such as directors, shareholders, trustees and beneficiaries). This is to prevent criminals ‘hiding’ behind a legal entity. We will identify these people where possible, but we will be relying on you to help us identify all the people who own or control the customer engaging us. We will make this as easy as possible by providing you with detailed guidance on what we need.
SOURCE OF WEALTH/FUNDS
For some customers, such as trusts, we will need to ask for information on the customer’s source of funds or wealth. Again, we will make this as easy as possible by giving you detailed guidance on what we need.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T PROVIDE THE INFORMATION?
If you are unable to provide the information we need, it is likely that we will not be able to provide services to you.
If you have any queries or concerns about these new requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
*The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism Act and associated regulations