AML/CFT guidance and publications

Table of contents of information found on this page

Sector Risk Assessment

One of the statutory functions of an AML/CFT supervisor is to assess the level of risk of money laundering and terrorism financing across all the reporting entities it supervises.

The Reserve Bank published its Sector Risk Assessment in April 2017.

More information on Sector Risk Assessment

Codes of Practice

Under the AML/CFT Act, supervisors are empowered to develop Codes of Practice containing suggested methods that reporting entities can use to comply with their regulatory obligations. While not mandatory, they can provide a defence against charges of non-compliance (a "safe-harbour"), if followed correctly. If a reporting entity opts out of the Code, it must inform its supervisor and must adopt practices that are equally effective, otherwise it risks non-compliance.

Codes of Practice relevant to the firms supervised by the RBNZ will appear here.

Amended Identity Verification Code of Practice 2013

On 10 October 2013, an Amended Identity Verification Code of Practice (AIVCOP) was gazetted under section 64 of the AML/CFT Act. The amendments came into force on 1 November 2013.

In July 2021, the AML/CFT supervisors have published an updated Explanatory Note to the AIVCOP which replaces the previous versions that were published in 2017 and 2013.

A triple-branded statement was published by the AML/CFT supervisors on 5 July 2019 to clarify the use of the new Kiwi Access Card as a form of ID under the AIVCOP.

A triple-branded statement was published by the AML/CFT supervisors on 9 August 2019 to clarify the use of an expired passport as a form of ID under AIVCOP.

A triple-branded factsheet was published by the AML/CFT supervisors on 16 July 2021 to provide guidance in relation to the use of Birth Certificates with redacted information when conducting customer due diligence.

Annual Reports

The AML/CFT Act requires all reporting entities to prepare an annual report.

Due to recent national COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, the AML/CFT supervisors have agreed to change the submission date for the Annual AML/CFT Report 2021 to 30 September 2021 from the earlier set date of 31 August. Reporting entities supervised by the Reserve Bank are required to provide an annual report to us by midday on Thursday 30 September 2021 in respect of the period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021.

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Forms are required to be returned to the Reserve Bank in typed PDF format. Instructions on how to submit your completed report have been communicated to your entity’s AML Compliance Officer via email. If you have not received the instructions, please contact us ASAP at [email protected].

AML/CFT supervisors have developed a user guide to assist with the completion of Annual AML/CFT Report. This guide has been recently updated to mainly reflect the 2018 amendments to Schedule 2 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (Requirements and Compliance) Regulations 2011.

Thematic and Targeted Reviews

In August 2021, RBNZ published a report on the Correspondent Banking, Prescribed Transaction Reporting and Transaction Monitoring Survey. The purpose of the Reserve Bank survey was to assess the extent to which the allegations made by AUSTRAC against Westpac Australia, may or may not be present within the banking sector in New Zealand. The survey included questions regarding registered banks’ policies, procedures and controls in relation to the following:

  • Correspondent banking relationships
  • Prescribed Transaction Reporting
  • Transaction monitoring scenarios to detect potential child exploitation.

Read the report containing the survey findings (PDF 810KB)


Supervisors are also empowered to develop guidelines and other guidance aimed at helping reporting entities meet their obligations.

The purpose of this guideline is to explain the shared objectives of the three AML/CFT supervisors. It provides an explanation of the actions, strategies, tools and techniques that are used by the supervisors to achieve these objectives.

This November 2019 update replaces the previous version that was published in 2012.

The purpose of this guideline is to help reporting entities understand the process of an Anti-Money Laundering/Countering Financing of Terrorism on-site inspection conducted by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. It provides details on the planning stage, pre-visit requests, the actual on-site and the structure and timeframes of the on-site report to be issued to a reporting entity.

A risk assessment is the first step that a reporting entity must take before developing a programme to address money laundering and terrorism financing risks. It involves identifying and assessing the risks a business might reasonably expect to face. The Risk assessment guideline is designed to help reporting entities conduct a risk assessment, as required under section 58 of the AML/CFT Act. Once a risk assessment is completed, a reporting entity must then put in place an AML/CFT programme that manages and mitigates these risks.

Developing an AML/CFT programme is the next step after conducting a risk assessment. It involves developing the procedures, policies and controls to manage and mitigate money laundering and terrorism financing risks. A reporting entity's AML/CFT programme must be based on its risk assessment. This guideline is designed to help reporting entities develop their AML/CFT programme as required under section 56 of the AML/CFT Act.

The Enhanced Customer Due Diligence Guideline has been updated in September 2020, it is designed to assist reporting entities to understand their enhanced CDD requirements under the AML/CFT Act.

The Ordinary Course of Business Guideline, published in December 2017, helps to clarify the meaning of the phrase "in the ordinary course of business", as found in the AML/CFT Act. The guideline, and the meaning of this phrase, is important if your business carries on an activity that is listed under the definition of 'financial institution' in the Act.

This December 2017 update replaces the previous version that was published in 2012.

This guideline provides information relating to the carrying on of financial activities by businesses both within and outside New Zealand. The Territorial Scope guideline, published November 2019, is designed to assist businesses to determine whether they have obligations under the AML/CFT Act in New Zealand. This November 2019 update replaces the previous version that was published in 2012.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (Exemptions) Regulations 2011 exempt certain relevant services from the AML/CFT Act or parts of the Act. The Insurance Business Coverage guideline, published February 2012, helps to clarify some exemptions available in these regulations as they apply to insurance.

You are required to assess the AML/CFT risks associated with the countries you deal with. For example, this may be necessary when you deal with a non-resident customer, or an overseas institution. The Countries assessment guideline, published July 2012, will help you decide when you need to undertake an assessment and how to approach an assessment.

This guideline provides an overview of matters to consider when arranging an audit, as required under section 59(2) of the AML/CFT Act. The Guideline for audits of risk assessments and AML/CFT programmes, published October 2019, will help reporting entities manage the requirement to audit AML/CFT risk assessment and AML/CFT programmes.

The Designated Business Group - Scope Guideline outlines the obligations that may be shared by members of a designated business group. This December 2017 update replaces the previous version published in 2012.

The Designated Business Group – Formation Guideline highlights the eligibility criteria and election process when forming or joining a designated business group. It also explains the process for notifying an AML/CFT supervisor about the formation of, or change to, a designated business group and provides the form for doing so.

This February 2020 update replaces the previous version published in 2017.

The Beneficial ownership guideline, published December 2012, provides information to assist in the identification and verification of a customer's beneficial owners. The guideline also provides information to help reporting entities understand the distinction between a beneficial owner and a person acting on behalf of a customer.

The Ministry of Justice has published a class exemption for managing intermediaries on its website.

This guideline clarifies the types of transactions that are wire transfers for the purposes of the AML/CFT Act. The Wire transfers guideline, published August 2013, also describes who the parties are in a transaction and what responsibilities they have.

The Police Financial Intelligence Unit has issued a Suspicious Activity Reporting Guideline to help reporting entities comply with suspicious activity reporting obligations from 1 July 2018.


RBNZ Presentation Slides

Further guidance and information

The AML/CFT Supervisors have published urgent guidance related to the impact of Russia Sanctions on AML/CFT reporting entities

The AML/CFT Supervisors have published urgent guidance related to verifying a person’s identity during COVID-19 Level 4. Please find this guidance below.

The NZ Police Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has published an updated National Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Risk Assessment (‘NRA’) in November 2019. The NRA sets out the current understanding of the scale and nature of the criminality risks faced by New Zealand.

The NZ Police FIU produce guidance material, including typologies of money laundering and financing of terrorism transactions which are published on their website.

NZ Police FIU also publish guidance information for reporting entities on their obligations to report suspicious activities and prescribed transactions, and how to meet those obligations.

Further information on the development and review of the AML/CFT legislation and related regulations can be found on the Ministry of Justice website.

Following the Christchurch terrorist attacks on 15 March 2019 New Zealand’s national threat level was assessed as high. As a result, New Zealand Police FIU published an update on 3 April on implications of threat level for reporting entities. The threat level has since been downgraded to medium – a terrorist attack is assessed as feasible and could well occur.