Planned AML/CFT annual report form “poorly constructed”

by Sol Dolor06 Nov 2017
The New Zealand Law Society has called for the redraft of the annual report form proposed in pending Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) laws.

In comments made to the Ministry of Justice on the draft laws, the Law Society said that the form, which a majority of New Zealand lawyers need to complete, “is poorly constructed with unclear terminology, repetitious and takes a ‘one size fits all’ approach.”

Because of questions and information that are irrelevant to the legal profession, lawyers will likely find it difficult to understand and complete certain parts of the form, the top legal body said.

"It would be far preferable to have an annual report specifically tailored to the legal sector that gathers only the information that is relevant and necessary for lawyers' AML/CFT reporting purposes,” it said.

"As it stands, the proposed annual report form will involve a quite onerous level of data collection for the legal profession. The first reporting year starts on 1 July 2018, and lawyers will need to have systems and software in place by then to capture a range of data not currently collected in the normal course of legal practice, for AML/CFT reporting purposes.”

The Law Society added that it would be happy to work with officials to redraft the form, to lessen the support and guidance lawyers would need if the form stayed as is.

“Regardless of the form used, lawyers' AML/CFT annual reports will contain commercially sensitive information and the profession will want assurances that the information provided to the supervisor and other AML/CFT bodies will be appropriately safeguarded,” the Law Society said.

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