by Brian Hale
On the last day of July I received ‘Beyond Balances’, the monthly newsletter sent to their clients by Denise Maffey and Associates Ltd.
The main article covered the new rules that came into effect on 1 July 2018 for lawyers, and will come into effect on 1 October 2018 for Accountants. These rules are contained in the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act.
A quick check on the Justice Department website at https://www.justice.govt.nz/justice-sector-policy/key-initiatives/aml-cft/info-for-businesses/lawyers-accountants/ and my head was spinning.
The rationale given for the act is that “This will help prevent money laundering, make it easier for authorities to find out where ‘dirty’ money came from, prosecute criminals, seize illegally earned money and assets, and stop crime and terrorism.” As usual, however, it will increase the workload of professionals and increase the costs for the innocent ‘Joe public’ who need to access these services!
From now on any business providing a whole range of services, such as Lawyers, Accountants, Real Estate Agents, Conveyancers, Business that provide trust and company services, Businesses trading in high value goods, Sports and racing betting as well as banks, casinos, various financial service providers, and some trust and company service providers, will be required to follow the new rules.
It means that when you ask your accountant to do a job for you, and it may seem only a simple job to you, like witnessing a signature for a Trust document, they will have to go through a number of steps to determine if the rules apply in your case. If they do you will be required to make an appointment with your accountant as it could take some time. You will need to supply proof of identity, evidence of where you live (not less than 3 months old), and if money is involved you may have to provide proof of where the money came from.
As each individual accountant, law firm, bank or other business needs to check how the rules apply to them and their clients individually the cannot rely on any check done by anybody else, such as a JP, furthermore the interpretation of the rules are down to the individual firms, so what one may be happy with another may not.
As Denise Maffey says “We’re still learning about all the aspects of the new rules, what tasks they apply to, and how often we need to get proofs. For lawyers, they are collecting this information now, some on a job basis, and some on a client list basis. We will be starting to collect this information from now on.”
Next month we will discuss how you may be affected when you ask a JP to sign /witness some documents for you and then we will cover what to expect when buying or selling a house.
Don’t blame the professionals, they are not happy about the new rules any more than you will be.
Proof of Identity
This is a current passport, or a current firearms licence. It may NOT be a drivers licence, if you do not have one of these there are a small number of other documents but you will need to ask the firm what they will accept.
Proof of Address
This needs to be less than three months old, and show your name and residential address as a delivery address. The list may include bank statements, rates notices, power bills or a government issued letter or statement. If your mail goes to a PO Box you will need to change the address to your home address for at least one of the documents.