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New Zealand

New Zealand has not yet implemented the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF's) recommendations for virtual asset service providers (VASPs). However, it has issued a consultation, and the document is currently open for comments. 

Scope of application - to whom does it apply?

As per the Review of the AML/CFT Act, part 2, page 27: "Businesses that provide one of the five types of virtual asset activities identified by the FATF: 

1. exchanging between virtual assets and fiat currencies (e.g. New Zealand Dollars); 

2. exchanging between one or more forms of virtual assets; 

3. transferring (i.e. conducting a transaction on behalf of a person that moves a virtual asset from one virtual asset address or account to another) virtual assets; 

4. safekeeping and/or administration of virtual assets or instruments enabling control over virtual assets, and;

5. participation in and provision of financial services related to an issuer's offer and/or sale of a virtual asset."

New Zealand considers that the existing definition of a financial institution is sufficiently broad to capture the first, second, third, and fifth virtual asset activity. Nevertheless, the Government is now requiring advice if it should extend obligations to wallet providers which only provide safekeeping or administration of virtual assets. 

Supervisory body

Currently, there are three supervisory bodies, namely:

  • The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) supervises a range of businesses, including issuers of securities, licensed supervisors, derivatives issuers, managed investment scheme managers, client money or property service providers, equity crowdfunding platforms, peer-to-peer lending providers, discretionary investment management services and certain financial advice providers, 

  • The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) supervises registered banks, life insurers, and non-bank deposit takers, 

  • The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) supervises casinos, non-deposit taking lenders, money changers, DNFBPs and high-value dealers, and other reporting entities/financial institutions that are not covered within the sectors supervised by the FMA or the RBNZ.

Threshold - NZD 1000 

When do you need to comply?

The consultation period will be closed in 2022, and the final report is planned for the end of June 2022. There is thus no obligation to comply yet. However, you may need to have a solution in place when interacting with other obliged entities located in countries where the Travel Rule has been implemented. 

Have a plan in place, and start interacting with the right providers that can help you comply with the travel without impairing your customer relationship.

What to do below the threshold

The New Zealand Government is consulting to know if they should issue regulations to require that international wire transfers below NZD 1000 are accompanied by specific information about the originator and beneficiary. The information would not need to be verified for accuracy unless there is a suspicion of money laundering or terrorism financing. 

Information to be exchanged - sections 27 and 28 of the AML ACT

  • Originator's full name; and

  • Originator's account number or other identifying information that may be prescribed and allows the transaction to be traced back to the originator; and

  • one of the following:

    • Originator's address,

    • Originator's national identity number,

    • Originator's customer identification number,

    • Originator's place and date of birth; and

    • Beneficiary's name and account number or any unique transaction reference that allows the transaction.

What else do you need to know?

The New Zealand Government is also consulting to know if they should have a specific AML/CFT registration and/or licensing regime.

Applicable regulation

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act 2009: https://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2009/0035/latest/whole.html

Consultation paper: https://consultations.justice.govt.nz/policy/aml-cft-review/user_uploads/amlcft-statutory-review-consultation-document.pdf

Status: Consultation

Timeline: review, conclude and report by 30 June 2022

Written by:
Delphine Forma
Delphine Forma
Senior Compliance Manager at BitMEX

Delphine Forma is an experienced compliance officer who worked across different industries including Bank of Tokyo, Mitsubishi UFJ, HSBC Bank, and crypto businesses (exchanges and miners). She holds a diploma from Sciences Po Lyon, and two masters specialising in European Criminal Business Law and Frauds and Money Laundering Prevention. Delphine is a board member of the OpenVASP Association.

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