New anti-money laundering regime now in force

All New Zealand banks are now required to comply with the new anti-money laundering regime, which came into force on 30 June.

Under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 all New Zealand banks have additional obligations to check customer identity and, in some cases, account activity.

“The new regime applies to all banks, and other financial institutions, and builds on existing customer identification processes,” said New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Kirk Hope.

“It will mainly affect people when they open bank accounts, or if they want someone else to have signing authority on their account. People will also notice changes in some cases when depositing cash over the counter and making international money transfers. Existing customers will also be asked to confirm their ID and contact details from time to time.”

The new law aims to make it harder to disguise the profits of crimes like drug and arms trafficking, fraud, robbery, and illegal prostitution and gambling. It will also help New Zealand to meet its international obligations and improve its financial reputation overseas.

“We all have a role to play here. Banks will be asking customers to provide more information about themselves. It’s important to bear in mind the bigger picture here.”

“Banks have invested heavily to make sure they are compliant with the new regime. Most have implemented the changes ahead of the deadline to help ensure a smooth transition to the new requirements,” Hope added.