New legislation requires accountants to obtain more information from clients prior to undertaking an engagement
From 1 October 2018, the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (“the Act”) will apply to Blackmore Virtue & Owens and all other New Zealand Chartered Accountancy firms captured by the Act.
The purposes of the Act are:
- to detect and deter money laundering and the financing of terrorism;
- to maintain and enhance New Zealand’s international reputation by adopting recommendations issued by the Financial Action Task Force; and
- to contribute to public confidence in the financial system.
The Act requires Blackmore Virtue & Owens to assess the money laundering and terrorist financing risk we may face in our business and to identify potentially suspicious activity. To make that assessment we must carry out customer due diligence on new and existing clients.
How the Act affects our existing clients
Blackmore Virtue & Owens must collect and verify identity information about existing and prospective clients and, in some cases, the client’s source of wealth or funds.
Examples of information we are required to collect are our client’s full name, date of birth and address, and in some cases a client’s source of funds and/or wealth.
For trusts, we need information about the trust, individuals connected with the trust such as the trustees and the trust’s source of funds and/or wealth. We must also take steps to make sure the information we have is correct.
We already hold information about you as part of your engagement of us. Some of this information may meet the Act’s identity and verification requirements. However, in some cases we may need to ask you for further information and see documents such as a passport, a bank statement or utility bill.
We will let you know what we require the next time we receive instructions from you or when there is a material change in the nature and purpose of our relationship. We may not be able to proceed with your instructions until we have received all the necessary client verification information.
Please do not be concerned when we ask for more information or documents. We are legally required to obtain this information from all clients, even those who have been a client of the firm for many years.
Implementing these measures will help to enhance New Zealand’s reputation as a safe place to do business and will deter criminals from attempting to use our services to finance illegal activity.
Lastly, we apologise for any inconvenience that is caused during the process of Blackmore Virtue & Owens complying with the Act.
Want to know more?
If you have any questions about these changes and how they will affect you, please contact: Alex Houghton (Director).