New Zealand Law Society - AML/CFT compliance specimens

AML/CFT compliance specimens

On 1 July 2018, lawyers and conveyancers became reporting entities under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act 2009.

This page is currently under review. Please refer to the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) website for guidance on your obligations, policies you need to have in place,  and how to develop a Risk Assessment and Compliance Programme - DIAs information for lawyers.

The purpose of the AML/CFT regime reflects New Zealand’s commitment to the international initiative to counter the impact that criminal activity has on people and economies within the global community.

Lawyers who undertake specified activities (‘captured activities’) will need to ensure they have a programme in place to meet AML/CFT requirements. Captured activities are identified as services which are potentially attractive to criminals as a means of laundering money or financing criminal activity. The AML/CFT compliance regime adopts a risk-based approach.

To meet AML/CFT requirements, lawyers need to :

  • Appoint a Compliance Officer
  • Undertake a risk assessment of their business. This will enable lawyers to identify the risk of money laundering in different aspects of their practice. The level of risk identified will determine the particular compliance steps a lawyer must take in relation to a particular client matter.
  • Prepare a compliance programme which includes internal procedures, policies and controls to detect and manage the risks of ML/CFT
  • Ensure they know their clients by undertaking customer due diligence (CDD). This includes verifying the identity of their clients and in some cases the sources of client wealth or funding for a transaction. It also includes on-going account monitoring
  • Report suspicious activity through filing a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) with the Police’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
  • Submit an annual report to the DIA which is the AML/CFT supervisor for the legal profession.
  • Arrange a bi-annual independent audit of the firm’s AML/CFT compliance programme.
  • Establish a recording keeping system.

Department of Internal Affairs guide

The Department of Internal Affairs has produced a useful guide ‘Guideline Lawyers and Conveyancers - Complying with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009’ which is available on their website. The sample documents referred to above are designed to complement that Guideline.

Law Society Practice Briefings

Practice Briefings provide guidance on issues related to privilege and confidentiality, suspicious activities and continuing to act:

The Law Society will keep lawyers updated on AML/CFT developments via LawPoints and LawTalk.

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