Argos AML/CFT Services

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009
("Act") came into full force and effect in New Zealand on 30 June 2013.

The Act requires reporting entities (e.g. financial institutions, casinos, financial advisers, trust and company service providers and since the implementation of phase 2 has begun, covering lawyers accounts, conveyancers, real estate agents, high-value good dealers and gambling service providers) to comply with a wide range of obligations. These include conducting customer due diligence, retaining a wide range of business and other records and reporting suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit.

Lawyers and Conveyancers must comply with the Act by July 2018, while accountants and real estate agents will be October 2018 and January 2019 respectively.

In order to comply with the Act, reporting entities are required to:

  • draft an assessment of the risk of money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism which might occur in their business
  • produce an AML/CFT programme containing adequate and effective procedures, policies and controls to ensure compliance with relevant obligations set out in the Act and underlying regulations
  • appoint a person as their AML/CFT compliance officer to keep their risk assessment and AML/CFT programme up-to-date
  • have their risk assessment and a AML/CFT programme audited at least every two years by an independent and qualified auditor

Argos Fiduciary understands how difficult dealing with legislation can be. Our AML/CFT Senior Consultants, former Department of Internal Affairs Senior Compliance Officers with in-depth knowledge of the AML/CFT Act 2009. We can cut through the complexities to assist you to meet the requirements of the Act so that you can be confident you are operating legally.

Argos Fiduciary also has Mandarin speaking Consultants, who are able to provide our services in Mandarin. This ensures ease of communication and mitigates the risk of important information being ‘lost in translation'.

Advisory Services

If you need to know whether you are likely to be caught by the anti-money laundering regime in New Zealand, or if you are uncertain as what you need to do to comply, Argos Fiduciary can advise on the applicable legislation and the nature of your responsibilities.

Drafting Risk Assessments

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 requires reporting entities to set out in writing their assessment of the risk of money laundering or the financing of terrorist activities which might take place in their business.

Argos Fiduciary can work with you to produce documentation that will comply with all parts of the Act and accurately reflect your perception of the risks.

Drafting An AML/CFT Programme

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 requires reporting entities to draft a written document which includes adequate and effective procedures, policies and controls that set out how you will provide staff training, undertake staff vetting, conduct customer due diligence, report suspicious transactions and other related matters.

Argos Fiduciary starts with a template of about 150 pages, which we then adjust as necessary to ensure that your business will be able to comply with the Act in a meaningful fashion.


Argos Fiduciary can provide training on anti-money laundering issues as required, incorporating your procedures as appropriate. Sessions can last up to three hours and can accommodate up to 8 people.

We can tailor training to meet the specific needs of those staff attending. Argos Fiduciary also has a Chinese AML/CFT Training programme.

Document Health Check

If you are uncertain whether your risk assessment and / or AML/CFT programme is compliant, Argos Fiduciary can provide a full paper-based audit, including feedback on matters that should be remedied.

Effectiveness Health Check

If you are uncertain whether your business is complying with its own procedures, Argos Fiduciary can attend at your offices and review a sample of files in accordance with an agreed approach.


The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 requires reporting entities to have an audit of their risk assessment and AML/CFT programme undertaken by an independent and appropriately qualified auditor every two years (or at the request of your AML/CFT supervisor). The audit is not a financial audit and the Act explains that the auditor does not need to be someone qualified to undertake financial audits. What is important is how familiar the auditor is with the anti-money laundering regime applicable to your business.

Argos Fiduciary has developed a detailed audit report template that is capable of providing meaningful feedback to reporting entities. The Argos Fiduciary audit system is based on the UK ISO 9000 Audit model, appropriately adapted to New Zealand requirements.

Ongoing Advisory Services

We can provide advice regarding any aspect of the anti-money laundering regime in New Zealand. This includes compliance with anti-money laundering legislation when your business is operating in more than one jurisdiction.

Providing Enforcement Support

If you need representation when dealing with your AML/CFT supervisor, we have a detailed knowledge of supervisory processes and may be able to help negotiate a remediation programme that will satisfy both parties. Once a remediation plan is agreed, we can help you to implement it.


As explained above, a reporting entity is required to have its risk assessment and AML/CFT programme audited by an independent and appropriately qualified auditor every 2 years, or at any other time, at the request of its AML/CFT supervisor. This requirement extends to all versions of the risk assessment and AML/CFT programme that had been adopted during the audit period (for example, 1 June 2013 - 31 May 2014).

Argos AML/CFT Audit Definitions

The auditor must be independent and cannot have been involved in the undertaking of the reporting entity’s risk assessment or the establishment, implementation, or maintenance of the reporting entity’s AML/CFT programme.

The Act expressly states that the audit does not have to be carried out by an accountant or someone qualified to conduct financial audits. However, the auditor must have a good understanding of the regime implemented by the Act, the underlying regulations and various documents issued by the AML/CFT supervisors and the Financial Intelligence Unit.

Choice Of Audit

The Audit Guideline suggests that an auditor can perform a “limited assurance audit” or a “reasonable assurance audit”. The choice will depend on the reporting entity’s own requirements and the level of assurance that it is seeking. The reasonable assurance audit is more time-consuming and therefore costly, than a limited assurance audit. The advantage of the more in-depth reasonable assurance audit is, however, that the reporting entity and its supervisor can have a greater degree of confidence that the entity is compliant with the Act.

In circumstances where it is not possible to say that the risk assessment complies with section 58 of the Act or that the AML/CFT programme complies with section 57 of the Act, it may be necessary to issue an "adverse opinion".

Risk Assessment

The Act expressly specifies that the audit of the risk assessment is limited to an audit of whether the reporting entity’s risk assessment:

  • is in writing
  • identifies the risks which it faces in the course of its business
  • describes how it will ensure that the assessment will remain current
  • enables it to determine the level of risk involved in relation to relevant obligations under the Act and underlying regulations
  • demonstrates consideration by the reporting entity of the guidance issued by the reporting entity’s AML/CFT supervisor and by the Financial Interlligence Unit

Providing these matters have each been achieved, it will be possible to provide a reasonable assurance opinion.

Please note that the audit of risk assessment is not a critique of the assessment of individual risks.

AML/CFT programme

The Act does not expressly specify the contents of the audit of the AML/CFT programme. However, the Audit guideline, issued jointly by the three AML/CFT supervisors, notes that the matters which an auditor will assess include whether:

  • the programme complies with all of the obligations in section 57 of the AML/CFT Act
  • the policies, procedures and controls are based on the reporting entity’s risk assessment
  • the policies procedures and controls are adequate
  • have operated effectively throughout the period

To test "adequacy", the auditor must undertake a paper-based audit to check whether the procedures, policies and controls are capable of demonstrating compliance with the Act and underlying regulations.

To test "effectiveness", the auditor must complete an on-site audit to check whether the reporting entity is able to demonstrate that the procedures, policies and controls which it has been applying during the audit period are compliant with the Act.

Audit Report

Argos Fiduciary audit report template includes all the criteria which we look for when conducting an audit and indicates whether the reporting entity has passed, failed or met most of the requirements of the Act. We provide full comments to support our assessment and list our recommendations for remediation at the end of the report.

When we have completed our draft report, it is sent to the reporting entity for its comments regarding any factual inaccuracies. Once these have been discussed, we will issue a final audit report.