What is Anti Money Laundering (AML)?

You will notice that your bank, accountant, lawyer and real estate agent all talk to you about AML these days.

Changes to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML Act) came into force in 2018. The law is aimed at restricting criminal activity and enhancing NZ’s international reputation as a safe place to do business.

Money laundering is a process by which criminals try to “clean” their ill gotten gains by concealing their origins and making them look legitimate.
The AML Act now requires lawyers, accountants, real estate agents and others to do certain checks when handling money or property to ensure that money laundering is not taking place. Banks have had these obligations since 2010.

On a practical level, you should now expect those professionals to require to sight and copy your passport and proof of address, and to ask about where your funds have come from.
For companies and trusts, they will also need information about the directors and shareholders, trustees and beneficiaries.

These checks are mandated by law and no lawyers in NZ are able to avoid them. We have processes to make these checks manageable for you including using remote identity verification online.

So don’t be offended when we ask you to yet, again, prove who you are.