Skip to main content

Customer identification and verification: easy reference guide

If you are a reporting entity you must check a customer’s identity before you provide them with a designated service.

You must collect identification information about your customers and the beneficial owners of a customer, and find out whether they are a politically exposed person (PEP).

You must then verify certain customer information using reliable and independent documentation or electronic data, or a combination of both.

This easy reference guide outlines the minimum identification information you must collect and verify for the following customer types:

Individual customers

Individual customer other than a sole trader

Name

  • Collect and verify the individual’s full name. This includes all given names and their family name

‘Safe harbour’ verification procedures for individual customers

  • Where the relationship with the customer is of medium or lower money laundering/terrorism financing risk, you can choose to use safe harbour verification procedures. This does not require verification of the customer’s full name.

Address and date of birth

  • Collect the person’s residential address
  • Collect their date of birth
  • Verify either their residential address or their date of birth

Politically exposed persons

Beneficial owner(s)

  • For individuals, you can assume the customer and beneficial owner are the same person – unless you have a reason to believe otherwise

More information

Individual customer acting as a sole trader

Name

  • Collect and verify the individual’s full name. This includes all of their given names and their family name.

‘Safe harbour’ verification procedures for individual customers

Address and date of birth

  • Collect either the customer’s residential address or the full address of their main place of business (if any)
  • Collect their date of birth
  • Verify either their residential address or their date of birth

Other

  • Collect the full business name the customer uses for their business (if any)
  • Collect the customer’s Australian Business Number (ABN) (if any)

Politically Exposed Persons

Beneficial owner(s)

  • For individuals, you can assume the customer and the beneficial owner are the same person, unless you have reason to believe otherwise

More information

Companies

Domestic companies

Name

Address

  • Collect the full address of the company’s registered office
  • Collect the full address of the company’s main place of business (if any)

Other

  • Collect and verify the company’s Australian Company Number (ACN)
  • Collect and verify whether the company is registered by Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) as a proprietary or public company
  • If it is a proprietary company, collect the name of each director

Beneficial owner(s)

PEPs

Simplified company verification procedure

Confirm the company is either:

  • a domestic (registered in Australia) company, listed on an Australian stock exchange
  • a majority-owned subsidiary of a domestic company listed on an Australian stock exchange
  • licensed and regulated by a Commonwealth, state or territory government regulator.

If you have verified a company under the simplified company verification procedure, you don’t need to identify or verify the beneficial owner.

More information

Registered foreign companies

Name

Address

  • Collect the full address of the company’s Australian registered office

Collect one of the following:

  • Full address of the company’s main place of business in Australia (if any)
  • Full name and address of the company’s local Australian agent (if any)

Other

  • Collect and verify the Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN) issued to the company. Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) holds this information.
  • Collect the name of the country where the company was formed, incorporated or registered
  • Collect and verify whether the company is registered by the relevant foreign registration body, and if so, whether it is registered as a private, public or other type of company
  • If the company is registered as a private company, collect the name of each director

Beneficial owner(s)

  • Identify the beneficial owner(s) of the company
  • Determine whether each beneficial owner of the company is a politically exposed person (PEP)
  • You don’t need to identify or verify the beneficial owner(s) of a foreign listed public company which is subject to ‘transparency of beneficial owner’ disclosure requirements (whether by stock exchange rules or by law or enforceable means) which are, or are comparable to, the requirements in Australia

More information

  • See paragraphs 4.3.2, 4.3.3(2), 4.3.5(2) of the AML/CTF Rules (latest version) for more information about identifying registered foreign companies
  • See paragraphs 4.3.9, 4.3.10-4.3.11, 4.9.4-4.10.2 of the AML/CTF Rules (latest version) for more information about verifying registered foreign companies
  • See paragraphs 30.2 and 30.4 of the AML/CTF Rules (latest version) for more information about using disclosure certificates for registered foreign companies

Unregistered foreign companies (registered by relevant foreign registration body)

Name

  • Collect and verify the company’s full name

Address

  • Collect the full address of the company in the country where it was formed, incorporated or registered

Other

  • Collect the name of the country where the company was formed, incorporated or registered
  • Collect and verify any identification number issued to the company
  • Collect and verify whether the company is registered as a private, public or other type of company
  • If the company is registered as a private company, collect the name of each director

Beneficial owner(s)

  • Identify the beneficial owner(s) of the company
  • Determine whether each beneficial owner of the company is a politically exposed person (PEP)
  • You don’t need to identify and verify the beneficial owner(s) of a foreign listed public company subject to ‘transparency of beneficial owner’ disclosure requirements (whether by stock exchange rules or by law or enforceable means) which are, or are comparable to, the requirements in Australia

More information

  • See paragraphs 4.3.2, 4.3.3(3), 4.3.5(3) of the AML/CTF Rules (latest version) for more information about identifying unregistered foreign companies
  • See paragraphs 4.3.9, 4.3.10-4.3.11, 4.9.4-4.10.2 of the AML/CTF Rules (latest version) for more information about verifying unregistered foreign companies
  • See paragraphs 30.2 and 30.5 of the AML/CTF Rules (latest version) for more information about using disclosure certificates for unregistered foreign companies

Unregistered foreign companies (not registered by relevant foreign registration body)

Name

  • Collect and verify the full name of the company

Address

  • Collect the full address of the principal place of business of the company in the country where it was formed or incorporated

Other

  • Collect the country where the company was formed or incorporated

Beneficial owner(s)

  • Identify the beneficial owner(s) of the company
  • Determine whether each beneficial owner of the company is a politically exposed person (PEP)
  • Identification and verification of the beneficial owner(s) is not required for a foreign listed public company which is subject to ‘transparency of beneficial owner’ disclosure requirements (whether by stock exchange rules or by law or enforceable means) which are, or are comparable to, the requirements in Australia

More information

  • See paragraphs 4.3.2, 4.3.3(3), 4.3.5(3) of the AML/CTF Rules (latest version) for more information about identifying unregistered foreign companies
  • See paragraphs 4.3.10-4.3.11, 4.9.4-4.10.2 of the AML/CTF Rules (latest version) for more information about verifying unregistered foreign companies
  • See paragraphs 30.2 and 30.5 of the AML/CTF Rules (latest version) for more information about using disclosure certificates for unregistered foreign companies

Partnerships

Name

  • Collect and verify the full name of the partnership
  • Collect the full business name as registered with any state or territory business name authority
  • Collect the full name of each partner (not required if the regulated status of the partnership is confirmed by referring to a current membership directory of the relevant professional association)

Address

  • Collect the full residential address of each partner (not required if the regulated status of the partnership is confirmed by referring to a current membership directory of the relevant professional association)

Other

  • Collect the name of the country where the partnership was established
  • Collect and verify the information relating to one of the partners (as per the Individual identification procedure

Beneficial owner(s)

More information

Trustees

Name

  • Collect and verify the full name of the trust
  • Collect the full business name (if any) of the trustee
  • Collect the full name of all trustees
  • Collect and verify the settlor of the trust, unless:
    • the material asset contribution to the trust by the settlor at the time the trust is established is less than $10,000; or
    • the settlor is deceased; or
    • the trust is verified using the simplified trustee verification procedure

Address

  • Collect the full address of all trustees

Other

  • Collect information regarding the type of trust and the country where the trust was established

Beneficiaries

Collect one of the following:

  • full name of each beneficiary of the trust
  • if beneficiaries are identified by reference to a class, details of the class

Sole trustee

  • Collect and verify information relating to the sole trustee (as per appropriate Individual or Company identification procedure)

Multiple trustees

  • Collect and verify information relating to one trustee (as per appropriate Individual or Company identification procedure)

Beneficial owner(s)

  • Determine the beneficial owner(s) of the trust
  • Collect and take reasonable measures to verify each beneficial owner’s full name and one of either the beneficial owner’s date of birth or full residential address
  • Determine whether a beneficial owner of the trust is a politically exposed person (PEP)

Simplified trustee verification procedure

Verify that the trust is either:

  • a managed investment scheme registered by Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
  • an unregistered managed investment scheme that only has wholesale clients and does not make small scale offerings
  • a trust registered with and regulated by an Australian Government regulator
  • a government superannuation fund established under legislation.

If a trust has been verified under the simplified trustee verification procedure, the beneficial owner(s) don’t need to be identified and verified

More information

Associations

Incorporated associations

Name

  • Collect and verify the full name of the association
  • Collect the full name of the chair, secretary and treasurer or equivalent officer (in each case)

Address

Collect one of the following:

  • Full address of the registered office or principal place of administration (if any) (only one of these is required)
  • Residential address of the public officer
  • Residential address of the president, secretary or treasurer (if no public officer) (only one of these required)

Other

  • Collect and verify any unique identifying number issued to the association by the incorporating state, territory or overseas ‘incorporation body’

Beneficial owner(s)

More information

Unincorporated associations

Name

  • Collect and verify the full name of the association
  • Collect the full name of the chair, secretary and treasurer or equivalent officer (in each case)

Address

  • Collect the full address of the principal place of administration (if any)

Other

  • Collect and verify information relating to the member (by the appropriate ‘Individual‘ identification procedure) where the customer is acting in the capacity of a member of the unincorporated association

Beneficial owner(s)

More information

Registered co-operatives

Name

  • Collect and verify the full name of the co-operative
  • Collect the full name of the chair, secretary and treasurer or equivalent officer (in each case)

Address

Collect only one of the following:

  • Full address of the co-operative’s registered office
  • Principal place of operations (if any)
  • Residential address of the co-operative’s secretary
  • If the co-operative doesn’t have a secretary, collect the residential address of the president or treasurer

Other

  • Collect and verify any unique identifying number issued to the co-operative when it was registered by the state, territory or overseas ‘registration body’

Beneficial owner(s)

More information

Government bodies

Name

  • Collect and verify the full name of the government body

Address

  • Collect and verify the full address of the government body’s principal place of operations

Other

  • Collect and verify whether the government body is:
    • a separate legal entity, agency or authority; and/or
    • established under legislation of the Australian Government, state or territory or a foreign country; and if so the name of the state, territory or foreign country

Beneficial owner(s)

More information

Agents

Agent of an individual customer

Name

Other

  • Collect evidence (if any) that the agent is authorised to act on the customer’s behalf

More information

Agent of a non-individual customer

Name

Other

  • Collect evidence the agent is authorised to act on the customer’s behalf

More information

Verifying officers

Verifying officers appointed by a non-individual customer to verify their agent(s) only

Name

  • Collect the full name of the agent(s)

Other

  • Collect the title of the position/role the agent(s) holds with the customer
  • Collect a copy of the agent(s) signature
  • Collect evidence of the authorisation of the verifying officer to act on behalf of the customer
  • Collect and verify information relating to the verifying officer (as per the appropriate Individual identification procedure)

More information

  • Paragraph 4.11.13 of the AML/CTF Rules (latest version) specifies the minimum identification procedures to be undertaken by the verifying officer appointed to identify agent(s)
  • See paragraphs 4.11.9, 4.11.12 of the AML/CTF Rules (latest version) for more information about verifying officers appointed by a non-individual customer to verify their agent(s) only

Beneficial owner(s) of customers

Where the identity of the beneficial owner(s) is known

Name

Address and date of birth

  • Collect and verify one of the following:
    • residential address of each beneficial owner
    • date of birth of each beneficial owner

Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs)

You must take reasonable measures to verify beneficial owners. If you can’t identify one you must take reasonable steps to identify and verify an alternative individual

More information

The content on this website is general and is not legal advice. Before you make a decision or take a particular action based on the content on this website, you should check its accuracy, completeness, currency and relevance for your purposes. You may wish to seek independent professional advice.

Last updated: 13 Aug 2019
Page ID: 348

Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?
Please note that feedback you provide here will be used only for the purpose of improving our website. If you have a specific question about your AML/CTF obligations, please contact us.