Many of our clients wonder why we have to be so strict about money laundering.
At Frettens, we always endeavour to give our clients the best service and it goes without saying that we must protect them from the fraudulent use of their names and addresses by criminals for the purpose of money laundering.
We have to follow the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, which state that we must have evidence of your identity – photographic ID as proof that you are who you say you are and address ID to confirm your place of residence.
Identity theft is becoming more prevalent and the use of stolen identities enables criminals to open an account with a bank or building society and get ‘dirty’ money into the financial system.
Shelley Dancer, a Conveyancing Paralegal, says “When we ask for proof of your identity it doesn’t mean that we suspect you of money laundering – we are required by law to have evidence to show that you are who you say you are. The procedure that we follow ensures that we comply with the law and also protect you, as our client.”
What ID is needed?
To confirm identity we ask clients to visit our office in order for us to obtain certified copies of their ID. We would need one original form of evidence from each of the two groups below:
Proof of identity
- Valid full passport
- Valid UK photo-card driving licence
- Valid HM Forces identity card with the signatory’s photograph
- Residence Permit issued by the Home Office
- Current EEA member state identity card
Proof of address:
Each statement or bill must be no more than 3 months old.
- Valid bank card together with an original account statement
- Utility bill (does not include a mobile phone bill)
- Mortgage statement
- Local authority council tax bill
- Council rent book, showing rent paid for the last three months
- Current firearm and shot gen certificate
- Valid UK photo-card driving licence (as long as not used for your identity verification)
Must clients come to the office for face to face verification?
It is often easiest for clients to visit our office so that we can confirm that the ID matches the person and take certified copies for the file. It is usually a good opportunity to meet you in person as well at the outset of working with you.
However, it is not essential for clients to visit the office in person, for example if they live a distance away. In this case, you can take your original documents to any solicitor who will verify your identity and make a copy of the original document, certifying that they have seen the original.
Also, we can accept officially certified copies from a bank or building society providing that such copies bear the branch stamp and the name of the official signing.
Alternatively, your mortgage broker may be able to certify copies, as long as they are registered by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The broker must add their full name and FCA number when certifying.
Finally, Post Office branches provide a document certifying service for an approximate fee of £8.75 per person.
It is occasionally impossible for a client to produce any of the above items. We still require proof of your identity and address, but there are alternative procedures and on-line checks which we can carry out for clients where required.
Our Conveyancing Team, based in Christchurch, also cover Bournemouth, Poole and the New Forest. For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Shelley or a member of the team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have