March - Two minute update


Online trust review process announced
We’ve become increasing aware with issues relating to the large number of “family house and maybe something else” trusts that exist in New Zealand. As there isn’t regular activity, trust professionals don’t always have regular engagement with these clients. However if, for example, a property in the trust was under-insured and burnt down, there may be grounds for a claim against you or your firm as a trustee. Another example could be if there are changes to the beneficiaries residency or tax status that you should have been made aware of.

Many firms are reviewing trusts, with a goal of ensuring that they’re either professionally managed or wound-up. There may be exceptions where there are valid reasons for trusts to remain, but an annual meeting and review isn’t justifiable. We’ve identified an opportunity for firms to use an easy online trust review process.

Firms familiar with our annual return verification process for companies will know how we’re already streamlining client engagement with bespoke information for each entity. In a similar way, the trust review process will be started by selecting trusts scheduled for review each month. Each questionnaire will be automatically populated with key information currently recorded against that trust, such as details of beneficiaries and assets held. So clients don’t need to remember who the existing beneficiaries are, only if for example, any new grandchildren aren't currently included.

We’re confident that the combination of tailored information and the ability to respond from anywhere at any time will make it easy for clients to respond. Clients can either verify that the information currently held is still correct, or advise any changes via a secure web-form. There will also be catch-all questions for trustees to declare anything else of relevance, or ask for your guidance. Your firm can then retrieve the completed review, discuss anything that’s required, update any changes and create resolutions using our easy clause-by-clause minute builder, or one of the 120 precedents included.

Importantly, if the lay trustees have declared that the properties are adequately insured and it does burn down, you have evidence that you acted prudently. While this process won’t be suitable for every trust you’re involved with, we think it will be game-changing in its’ ability to achieve trust compliance, streamline management and protect your firm. We’ll keep you up-to-date with progress.

Draft email to clients regarding using the Connectworks annual return verification process
If you’re going to be using this process for the first time it’s a good idea to outline to clients why it’s being done and what they need to do. To help with this we’ve drafted wording for an email to your clients. We’ll send it to firms when they start using Connectworks for companies, but if you’d like a copy it's available here.

AML/CFT update
We’ve been finalising the details for our planned suite of AML/CFT tools. As outlined in our September update, our first focus will be on helping firms meet the client due diligence (CDD) requirements of AML/CFT phase 2.

A central component of CDD is verifying your clients’ identities and identity information, which we want to make as quick and easy as possible. There are three parts to this:

  1. Recording client identity information
  2. Confirming that information (i.e. confirming that there is a person with that information)
  3. Verifying your client’s identity (verifying that your client is the person with that information)

We’re aiming to have the first of these parts in place shortly We’ll be creating a space within the profile of each of the parties involved with your clients in which you’ll be able to record any additional identity information and documentation needed for CDD.

An identity information profile can also be accessible from your client’s personal Connectworks workspace, meaning they’ll be able to login and easily add anything more you need from them. 

While we’re doing this, we’ll also be adding further fields throughout Connectworks for you to record the other, non-identity related data needed for CDD. This includes information such as the nature of your business relationship with the client and the source of wealth of trusts.

This will give you a period of time to start recording the necessary information, during which we'll be working on implementing a fast, cheap information verification process. We’ve been working with a provider on facilitating this, and are aiming for a process that takes less than a minute and costs less than $5 to complete for each individual client.

Watch this space next month!

Principal shareholders and shareholder allocation contact report
If a share parcel is owned by a couple or a trust, but only one person deals with the shareholding issues, you can now set them as the principal contact. The screenshot below shows how to do this.

When you want to deal with multiple shareholders, you can now run a shareholder allocation contact report. The screenshot below shows you how to find it.

The report comes out as an excel file, to which additional columns can be added such as dividend per share, another that calculates the total dividend and others for the nominated bank account name and number. These reports can be used for communicating with shareholders (using mail merge) or to send to a bank to make dividend payments. They can also act as extensive shareholder lists to attach to Companies Office annual returns.

Watermark for signed documents
Every page of an electronically signed document will now have a ‘watermark’ inserted into its bottom left-hand corner, which states that the document has been e-signed, the number of pages that make up the document, and the page number on which the signing certificate is located.

Single-Sign-On (SSO) product integrations
Everyone has too many passwords to remember, so using an SSO product takes care of this, plus managing and removing staff access rights, setting password requirements for your staff and much more. Azure Active Directory and OKTA are the leading products of this type. We’re currently working on the ability to access Connectworks via these solutions. We’ll advise you when the process is completed, it’s likely to be available in a few weeks.

Join a webinar demonstration
Email your name and the date you’d like to attend to and we’ll respond with login details:
Overview of Trusts - Wednesday 11th April @ 9.30am
Overview of Companies - Wednesday 11th April @ 1pm
Ask us about any others you’d like:
- Shareholder Continuity Tracking
- Annual return verifications  
- Bulk e-filing to the Companies Office
- Precedents and clauses
- Signing and document packs

Quote of the month
"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of

Stephen Hawking