Why we need to ask you for your information
We want to advise you of law changes that will apply to lawyers and our clients from 1 July 2018. Recent changes to this law (called the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 or “the AML Act” in short) means that from 1 July 2018, lawyers will be required to have measures in place to help them detect money laundering and the financing of terrorism, as it is considered that law firms and the services they offer could be utilised by those involved in criminal activities.
As a law firm, we need to assess the potential risk we face from money launderers and those financing terrorism and must identify potentially suspicious activities. To make that assessment, we need to obtain and verify information from existing and potential clients before we are able to perform legal services for you. This is known as “client due diligence”.
What will we need from you?
Client due diligence requires law firms to undertake certain background checks before providing services to clients. We must also take reasonable steps to make sure that the information we receive from clients is correct, and so we will need to obtain and verify certain information from you. This information includes:
• your full name;
• your date of birth; and
• your address.
To confirm these details, we will need documents that include photo identification like your passport or current drivers licence and also documents that show your address such as a recent bank account statement or utility bill.
If you are seeing us about a trust or company, we will need to collect information relating to the trust or company and also the people associated with it (such as directors, shareholders and trustees). We will identify these people where possible, but we will be relying on you to help us in identifying all persons onr whom we need to carry out client due diligence. We will make this as easy as possible by providing you with detailed guidance on what we need.
We may also need to ask you for further information about the nature and purpose of the proposed work you are asking us to do for you. Also information confirming the source of funds or source of wealth for a transaction will also be necessary to meet the legal requirements.
If you cannot provide the required information
If you are unable to provide the information we require, it is likely that we will not be able to act for you. Even if you have been a long-standing client, we are still required under the AML Act to gather documentation to verify your identity.
Before we start working for you, we will let you know what information we need, and what documents you need to provide us.
If you have any queries or concerns about these new requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us.