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New Anti-Money Laundering Rules Impose Serious Obligations

Updated Anti-Money Laundering Rules Impose Serious Obligations on Lawyers, Accountants, and Real Estate Agents

The way lawyers, accountants, and real estate agents do business in New Zealand is about to change significantly. These industries are now subject to new regulations that could see individuals and companies subject to fines of up to $5 million, or imprisonment, for failures to comply.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Amendment Bill was passed unanimously by Parliament yesterday, meaning the newly caught industries have, in some cases, a matter of months to create and implement a robust AML/CFT regime.

New Zealand lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, and high value dealers will need to undertake the same compliance activities that financial service providers have been grappling with since 2013 when the AML/CFT Act 2009 came into force. Reporting entities under the AML/CFT Act must:

• Complete and maintain a New Zealand-specific Risk Assessment and Programme;
• Appoint and train an AML/CFT Compliance Officer;
• Train and vet staff, directors, and governance board members;
• Undertake Know Your Customer (KYC) checks on all customers, verifying their identities and in some cases their sources of wealth;
• Monitor the transactions of all customers according to the level of money laundering or terrorist financing risk posed by them, and file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) to the New Zealand Police Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) when necessary.

The consequences of noncompliance can be very serious. Back in 2012, HSBC forfeited £1.2 billion for having inadequate money laundering controls, and yesterday saw the threat of huge penalties creep closer to home with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia facing the staggering possibility of a $96 billion fine for alleged AML/CFT failures.

Fiducia offers New Zealand’s first DIY AML/CFT Risk Assessment and Programme templates designed to help New Zealand lawyers, accountants, and real estate agents comply quickly and inexpensively with their new requirements. These templates include step by step instructions that can be downloaded and completed in-house, without expensive consultancy fees.

For those businesses wishing to take a more strategic approach to ensuring compliance with the AML/CFT Act doesn’t slow their rate of innovation, Fiducia offers cutting-edge, bespoke consulting engagements that makes sure compliance problems are solved before they arise.

For regular AML/CFT compliance updates sign up to Fiducia e-news or follow Fiducia on LinkedIn.


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