New Anti-Money Laundering Rules Are Now In Force

Posted on 13/06/2018 by Smith and Partners

From 1 July 2018, lawyers are subject to the rules and procedures in the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (“AML Act”). 

The purpose of the AML Act is primarily to prevent proceeds of crime being laundered through lawyer’s trust accounts. 

The new rules impact how we interact with our clients in a number of ways: 

• We are now required by law to obtain verification of your identity before we can act for you (or continue to act for you). 

• If our client is a trust, an estate, a company or another entity, we are now required by law to collect certain information about the trust/company/entity/executors, including verifying the identity of all legal and beneficial owners, before we can act. 

• In some cases, we are required by law to collect information about the source of the funds being used in a transaction, or the source of the wealth. 

• We must monitor all clients and all transactions taking place through our trust account for money laundering risks, and report suspicious activity to the Police Financial Intelligence Unit. 

We are in the process of introducing procedures to ensure we comply with our new obligations and will keep you informed as these new procedures are implemented. 

These new processes will mean that we are legally unable to act for you until this information has been collected (and assessed). We will be using the best systems and processes to ensure that this information is collected in the most efficient way possible. 

The benefit of these new rules is that the process of collecting this information will provide us as your lawyers with a greater understanding of your complete situation, which will enable us to better tailor our advice to suit your individual needs. 

If you have any questions regarding the new AML requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us.