This article will talk you through the process of providing information to First AML, addressing the most frequently asked questions along the way with links to our in-depth articles for further clarification.
Looking for help with completing your identity verification form? Click here: How do I complete the Verification form?
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Privacy & Security
- Identity Verification
- Entity Verification
When you enter into a relationship with a real estate agent, lawyer, accountant, or investment firm, you may have a lot of paperwork to fill out or information to provide before you can begin with the transaction. If you are reading this article, you have most likely been asked to supply your personal information for the purpose of completing customer-due-diligence (CDD) so that the firm you are working with can stay compliant with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) legislation.
This is where First AML comes into play. First AML acts as an ‘agent’ as defined in anti-money laundering legislation - helping companies (referred to in the legislation as ‘Reporting Entities’) to meet their anti-money laundering obligations.
This involves First AML (with appropriate consent) collecting, verifying, and securely storing information about individuals and entities on behalf of our customers - which are Law, Accounting, Real Estate, Finance, and Investment Firms. Customers use our service because we offer a secure and efficient way for them to on-board their clients.
You might be wondering "what is AML?", "why do I have to do AML", and "who are First AML and why are they contacting me rather than the firm I have engaged with?"
What is Anti-Money Laundering (AML)?
In short, AML/CFT stands for "Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism".
Anti money laundering (AML) refers to laws, regulations, and procedures aimed at uncovering efforts to disguise illicit funds as legitimate income. Money laundering seeks to conceal crimes ranging from small-time tax evasion and drug trafficking to public corruption and the financing of groups designated as terrorist organisations.
For further information about this, see our help-centre article: What is AML?
Why do I have to do AML?
In New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom, reporting entities (also known as relevant people) are legally obligated to conduct customer due diligence (CDD) on their clients before entering into a business relationship with them.
Reporting entities are businesses in certain sectors such as real estate, law, accounting and investment. Examples of when AML may be required are when you are selling or leasing a property, establishing a relationship with a lawyer, or looking to invest with an investment agency.
For information about the specific legislation for NZ, AU, and the UK, see here: Why do I have to do AML?
Who is First AML and why are they contacting me?
First AML is a specialised outsourced Customer Due Diligence (CDD) service provider operating in accordance with AML legislation for United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australian reporting entities.
We fulfil AML compliance obligations on behalf of reporting entities (also known as relevant people, e.g. accounting firms, law firms, real estate agents, fund managers, etc.) Reporting Entities can legally choose to outsource this work. Customers use our service because we offer a secure and efficient way for them to on-board their clients.
First AML transform the originally complex and administrative paper work to a much more effective and efficient online verification process with the support of a dedicated analyst and support team.
If you have been contacted by First AML, this is because your firm has requested that we get in touch with you directly to complete this process.
For further information, see our help-centre article: Who is First AML and why are they contacting me?
Privacy & Security
Now that you have an idea about what AML is, why it is required, and who First AML are, you may have a few questions about our Privacy & Security posture, and the measures that we have put into place to keep your information safe.
Privacy & Security is and will always be at the forefront of our business. Managing people’s identity in an increasingly digital world requires the highest of standards. First AML continually improves and actively manages privacy and security.
If you have any questions or concerns about Privacy & Security at First AML please contact us at email@example.com.
For our full Security Policy, please see here: First AML Security Policy
Now you should be ready to complete the identity verification process.
According to NZ, AUS, and UK AML legislation, your identity must be verified in order for customer due diligence to be completed. There are two ways for us to verify your identity.
This can be done using an electronic verification, or by certified documents.
The legislation requires your name, date of birth and address to be verified, along with an online screening to confirm if you are a politically exposed person.
What is Electronic Identity Verification?
Electronic Identity Verification is a process conducted by First AML to ensure an individual's identity document(s) and address information are currently valid.
First AML have designed an Electronic Identity Verification form which can be completed by individuals anywhere in the world on their smart devices in less than five minutes. Our form requires individuals to take a photo of their chosen identity document(s) and complete the fields with their personal identity information, based on the legislation their chosen firm is abiding by.
The purpose of our form is to make the AML process as easy as possible for everyone, and to minimise the paper forms/administrative process of manual Identity Verification.
For specific information about the requirements for each region (NZ, AUS, and UK), please see our full article here: What is Electronic Identity Verification?
How do I complete the First AML Verification form?
Our form can be completed on either a smart phone, tablet, or a desktop with a camera. To begin, you will need to click the 'Open the verification form' green box/link which you can access through the email sent to you by our analyst team. You will need your chosen ID handy before you begin.
For a full video demonstration and step-by-step instructions, please view our help-centre article: How do I complete the Verification form?
Verification Form Error Messages
If you run into an error message whilst completing your verification form and aren't sure how to resolve the error, we have an article which explains why two of the most common error messages (Missing Token, and Camera/Microphone Access Denied) happen and what steps to take to resolve them.
To view our full article click here: Error Messages: Missing Token / Access Denied
Is there an Alternative Option?
If you are looking for an alternative to electronic identity verification, an acceptable option is to instead provided certified copies of your identity and address documentation.
To view our Identity Verification & Certification Guidelines for information about what to provide and how to provide it, please click here: Alternative Identity Verification Options
If your entity (Company, Trust, Partnership, etc.) is being onboarded/verified by First AML, our team may ask you to provide relevant additional information, such as confirmation of your shareholding arrangement, Trust Deed/s, and source of wealth evidence.
This information about your entity/s will most often be requested through the First AML Secure Web Form sent to you by your First AML analyst. Once you open the form you will be able to provide the requested information in a secure way either through uploading documentation or confirming arrangements by selecting which statement applies to your entity. The information provided through our Secure Web Form is uploaded directly into the First AML Platform, to avoid sensitive documentation being sent through email.
What does the Shareholding Confirmation Question mean?
Reporting entities in New Zealand and Australia are legally obligated to determine who the true beneficial owners of their customers are.
This is why you may have been asked to confirm what the shareholding arrangement of your Private Company is. Although some information can be sourced from the Companies Office and ASIC Website, certain arrangements such as nominee shareholders or shares held on behalf of another person can be kept anonymous from the public and are not displayed on the Company Extract.
Please see our article: Shareholding Confirmation for Private Companies where we elaborate on nominee Shareholders/Directors/General Partners, shares held in bearer form, and holding shares on behalf of another individual or entity.
What is Source of Wealth/Funds?
Under the AML/CFT legislation, a Reporting Entity will often be required to obtain information relating to the source of funds or wealth of their customer (you).
The information is required in order to prove how a person or an entity acquired its funds or wealth and to make sure it came from legitimate sources. Whether Source of Wealth information is required depends on a number of criteria, and is a very common request.
Depending on where your wealth/funds originates from, will depend on the types of relevant evidence you can provide.
For a full explanation of why you are being asked about your source of wealth and an extensive list of example evidence you could provide, please see here: What is Source of Wealth/Funds?