Money laundering is how criminals disguise the illegal origins of their money. Financers of terrorism use similar techniques to money launderers to avoid detection by authorities and to protect the identity of those providing and receiving the funds.
In an effort to stop money laundering and the financing of terrorism in New Zealand, the identity check requirements under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act or AML/CFT, now apply to real estate agents (effective from 1 January 2019). Previously, these requirements only applied to banks and other financial institutions and progressively throughout 2018 lawyers, conveyancers, trust and company service providers and accountants were also captured under the Act.
Real estate agencies now have to carry out due diligence on their clients under the Act to ensure clients are who they say they are, as well as monitoring transactions for unusual behaviour and reporting suspicious activity to the Police.
What does this mean for you?
When listing a property, all real estate agents are now required to collect from their clients – vendors - proof of identity (such as a passport or driver’s license), address and in some cases, proof of wealth by way of financial records. For most people, this is a very straightforward process, much like you would go through if you were opening a bank account. This process also applies to buyers who enter into a formal agency agreement with us to find them a property as they become our client.
If the client is a business or trust, all directors or trustees must be verified which can be more complex and take longer to investigate. This means that when you are looking to purchase or sell a property, you will need to take into account the time it may take to gather all of the information required.
Because other services – lawyers, accountants etc – are also required to carry out these checks, be prepared that you may need to provide this information more than once for the single real estate transaction.
If you’re a repeat customer?
You may still need to provide this information to your salesperson. This is simply a lawful requirement, it is not a reflection on you, please do not take this personally.
What will you be required to provide?
Below is an indication of some the documents your real estate agent, lawyer or conveyancer may ask you to present in person or as a certified document as part of this process:
Passport, NZ firearms licence, or NZ driver licence with another document such as a bank statement or statement issued by a government agency. You will also need to provide a document showing your residential address (for example, a utility bill).
The trust deed and, for all trustees and settlors, the information required for individuals as noted above, together with information regarding the trust’s source of funds or wealth. Additional information may also be required for beneficiaries.
Details of the company, together with the information for individuals noted above for every individual acting on behalf of a company, or who has more than a 25 percent shareholding or other individuals with effective control of the company. Information regarding the source of funds or wealth may also be required.
This list is indicative only and is not exhaustive. Your real estate agent and lawyer will be able to help you with specific requirements in relation to your situation.
The website linked to below will assist you in understanding the information we require, and why we require it, and our Client Forms will help you through our client onboarding process.
- Click here to view the New Zealand Government website - Keep Our Money Clean
- Click here to download the EVES Company Client Information Form
- Click here to download the EVES Individual Client Information Form
- Click here to download the EVES Trustee Client Information Form
- Click here to download the EVES Proving Your Identity Flyer