We have a legal obligation to hold private information about our clients, due to the AML/CFT Act (Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009). If you've used a new bank, accountant or lawyer lately, you should know all about it!
When we say 'clients', we mean property owners- vendors or landlords that we sign an agency agreement (listing) with, to sell or lease property.
The purpose of the AML/CFT Act is to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism. You can see more about it here. This Act applies to financial instituations and now also to lawyers, accountants and real estate agencies (like us).
The AML/CFT Act requires that before an agency agreement for your property is signed, we must undertake "customer due diligence" (CDD) on you. This information includes verification of:
The law states we must obtain and hold verified formal ID to prove this. Acceptable formal ID documents include a current passport, driver's licence or full birth certificate, as well as a bank statement or utility bill to verify your residential address. We need to meet you with your documents and photograph them. Once we have done that, we run them through an electronic verification system which automatically compares them with the applicable government database. This is like a double-check of authenticity.
If your property is owned by a company or trust, we will ask for further information about the entity and other people associated with it (such as other directors and shareholders, trustees and beneficiaries), and the structure of ownership. We might also need information confirming the source of wealth of the entity. Where a trust owns the property, we must get a copy of the trust deed and any amendments.
All information is stored securely in our database in accordance with our obligations under privacy legislation and we do not share any personal information with anyone apart from our electronic verification provider and to comply with our obligations under the AML/CFT Act, unless we first obtain your express written consent.
Please don't be concerned if we ask for more information. We are legally required to obtain this information from all clients, even those of you who have been clients for many years, before we can sell or lease your property for you.
If you have any queries or concerns, contact us - we're happy to help!