Important Changes for Clients

Important Changes for Clients

From 1 July 2018 all lawyers were required to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (“AML/CFT Act”).

What is the purpose of the AML/CFT Act?

The purpose of the AML/CFT Act is to place obligations on certain organisations and businesses to assist with the detection of and to deter money laundering and the financing of terrorism.  This law reflects New Zealand’s commitment to the international initiative to counter the impact that criminal activity has on people and economies globally.

The AML/CFT Act applied to banks, casinos and financial service providers from 2013.  Changes meant that from 1 July 2018 lawyers must also comply with the obligations set out in the AML/CFT Act.

Customer Due Diligence

One of the obligations under the AML/CFT ACT requires us to “know our client” by carrying out customer due diligence (also known as “CDD”), for all new and existing clients we act for. 

Before we provide services to you, CDD requires us to undertake certain background checks, and to collect and hold certain information about you for compliance and audit purposes.  This information includes:

  • Your full name; 
  • Your date of birth; and 
  • Your address.

To confirm these details, documents such as your passport, or driver licence together with your birth certificate will be required as proof of your name and date of birth.  Documents such as a utility bill or current bank statement will be required as proof of your address.

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).

In order to meet our legal obligations we may also need to ask you for further information including the nature and purpose of the proposed work you are asking us to do for you and information confirming the source of funds for a transaction.

We will let you know exactly what information is required from you at the time.

If you are an existing client

Because the law applies to everyone, we need to ask for the information even if you have been a client of ours for a long time.  If we already have information that satisfies some of our CDD requirements for you, we will only ask for the additional documentation that we need to complete the CDD process. 

The next time we receive instructions from you or if there is a change in the nature and purpose of our business relationship with you we will be required to update your CDD information. 

We are here to help you

We have a team of people dedicated to support our clients with this process.  However, we also need you to assist us by providing the information we request in a timely manner. If the CDD process is not completed, we will not be able to act for you.  We want to avoid this situation.  If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact the lawyer who will be undertaking your work, or members of our compliance team at

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