AML/CFT due diligence requirements for Lawyers

Your CDD obligations as a lawyer or conveyancer under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (the AML/CFT Act)

Lawyers/Conveyancers that have previously been instructed by Westpac

The AML/CFT Act does not, in general, require you to perform customer due diligence on existing clients. This means that in most cases, if you have previously been instructed by Westpac, you should be able to continue to act for Westpac after 1 July 2018 without requiring any further identity information or documents from Westpac or its employees.   

Please note, however, that the AML/CFT Act requires you to perform ongoing customer due diligence if there is a material change in the nature or purpose of Westpac’s relationship with you.  If you consider you require any information from us or our employees in such circumstances, please let us know as soon as possible.

 

New Lawyers/Conveyancers should take a risk-based approach

The NZLS has confirmed that “for any new business relationship with a registered bank, a law firm may conduct simplified CDD in accordance with section(s) 18-20 of the Act. This means in relation to a registered bank, the law firm may conduct simplified CDD on the bank and the person acting on its behalf”. 

Section 20 of the AML/CFT Act also permits a risk-based approach be taken to verification. This risk-based approach has been confirmed by the New Zealand Law Society in its guidance. Using a risk-based assessment, a verification of authority and identity in respect of persons acting on behalf of a registered bank will not be required.

 

What Westpac can do to assist you to comply with the AML/CFT Act

If you consider that you need to perform customer due diligence on a person acting on behalf of Westpac, please let us know. 

Westpac will then provide you with an Information Form containing the full name, date of birth and job title of the person acting on behalf of Westpac to fulfil your due diligence requirements.

FAQ's

If you have previously been instructed by Westpac, we are aligned with the guidance of the NZLS that no CDD is required.

If Westpac is instructing you for the first time, we will provide you with the Full Name, Date of Birth and Job Title of the person instructing you on behalf of Westpac in an Information Form. You should also receive your instructions on Westpac letterhead and/or from an official Westpac email address. We believe that this information will fulfil your requirement to conduct simplified CDD.

 

No – the NZLS guidance and s20 of the AML/CFT Act both make it clear that a risk-based approach should be applied in conjunction with your verification obligations. We are aligned with the guidance of the NZLS that no verification of the above information is required as we are of the view that instructions received from a registered bank in conjunction with a residential mortgage are low risk in nature.

Please contact the Department of Internal Affairs for further guidance.