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Meredith Connell

Background

Meredith Connell is famously known as the Crown Prosecutor for Auckland, New Zealand and is one of the country's largest and oldest law firms. They represent both the New Zealand government and private sector clients, with a team of over 240. 

The situation

In 2018, when New Zealand introduced the AML/CFT Act for Phase 2 entities (lawyers, accountants and real estate agents), many law firms were at a crossroads. They had to find an AML solution that worked for them, and that resonated with their values and risk appetites.

“When Phase 2 of AML was first introduced to law firms, the finance director at Simpson Grierson [another major New Zealand law firm] got in touch with a few of us and said, ‘This is coming, let’s see what everyone’s doing and share ideas as we figure it out together’,” says Krystie Moynihan, Finance Director at Meredith Connell.

Due to their strong corporate focus on ethics and compliance, Meredith Connell had been completing AML with manual processes for a while. After acquiring a corporate advisory firm, with their own unique approach to AML, they soon realised the diversity of approaches and related outcomes.  

It was with this context in mind that they approached the Simpson Grierson-initiated industry brainstorming session. They quickly identified speed of delivery and excellence in compliance as central to a successful and cost effective programme that needed to be done right from the outset.

The solution

After evaluating a number of options, they found the solution in First AML. First AML not only helped them align the existing disparate AML systems, but it also provided them with a best practice standard operating procedure for consistent AML outcomes.

For Meredith Connell, transparency of the AML process, keeping the risk in-house, and fast turnaround of cases were key. “We want to make sure clients are onboarded and transactions can go through as fast as possible. If lawyers couldn’t open their case and start recording their matters - trust me I would definitely be hearing about it!” says Krystie. 

“AML is not just a ‘tick the box’ approach at Meredith Connell. It’s who we are and how we go about things. It’s just embedded in the culture.”

Krystie Moynihan, Finance Director, Meredith Connell

“Whenever we try to introduce new tech or compliance type processes internally, it helps to explain the why and get the buy-in before diving in too quickly into the details of what we’re doing. Step back a bit, explain what risks we’re trying to address, the goals we’re trying to accomplish, to mitigate the likelihood of internal pushback.”  

“In reinforcing buy-in for the importance of AML we often share updates on our intranet, when we see interesting AML-related stories in the news we like to explain that’s why we do what we do. AML is not just some annoying tick the box exercise - it’s actually important that we understand our risks and know our clients.”

The results

“When Meredith Connell decided to make the move we wanted to work with someone who would ensure that our clients and staff were in safe hands. First AML has done this and more. Not only has their solution simplified work on our end by relieving the administration involved in CDD [KYC], but their thorough and detailed results also helped settle any worries about AML slipping through the cracks,” says Krystie Moynihan, Finance Director.  

“The team is friendly, professional and extremely reliable, and we feel like they want to work alongside us in the work we do. First AML understands the busy nature of a law firm and by creating an excellent working relationship with us it has allowed our lawyers to focus on what they do best, which is providing quality legal services.”

“AML is not just a ‘tick the box’ approach at Meredith Connell. It’s who we are and how we go about things. It’s just embedded in the culture.”


About First AML

First AML is an AML technology provider, and the maker of Source, an all-in-one AML platform. Source powers thousands of compliance experts around the globe to reduce the time and cost burden of complex and international entity KYC. Its enterprise-wide, long term approach to the KYC / CDD data lifecycle addresses time and cost challenges while minimising compliance, reputational and security risks.

Keen to find out more? Book a demo today! No time for a long demo? No problem. See what First AML can do for your business in 2 minutes – watch the short demo here.

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