As you may be aware of, the current anti-money laundering laws of New Zealand are getting an upgrade.

The current laws came into effect in 2013 in the form of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 and has the following objectives:

  • To detect and deter money laundering
  • To maintain/increase public confidence in the NZ financial system, and
  • To bring NZ in line with international regulations

The Act sets out to achieve these objectives by imposing the following obligations on certain industries:

  • Developing a risk assessment and compliance programme
  • Undertaking customer due diligence (customer identification and verification)
  • Account monitoring, and
  • Submitting suspicious transaction reports to the Financial Intelligence Unit of the New Zealand Police.

Initially, the Act only imposed the above obligations on banks, financial institutions and casinos. However, the Act is now being extended to include real estate agents, lawyers, accountants, conveyancers, the New Zealand Racing Board and some high-value dealers. The most prominent implications of the extension are that the above-mentioned sectors will now be required to know and have a better understanding of who their customers are and be proactive in regards to risk assessment, compliance and identifying/reporting suspicious transactions.