AML compliance

Estate agency AML compliance is second worst of all UK sectors

Anti-money laundering (AML) analysis has shown than the estate agency industry’s compliance with the regulations is the second worst of all sectors within the UK.

Tim Barnett is chief executive of Credas Technologies, the company behind the research. He commented:

“There was certainly a grace period of sorts offered following the implementation of money laundering compliance regulations back in 2017, but since then, the estate agency sector has seen a number of high profile scalps claimed by HMRC.”

Barnett warned that, with the clampdown on Russian “dirty money” within the UK property market, it is possible that HMRC will be looking to ensure AML compliance within the estate agency sector:

“With a clampdown on dirty Russian money in full effect, there’s a very good chance that HMRC will increase its AML activity within the estate agency sector and those who may have facilitated any aspect of illegal activity could be in for a rough ride.”

Financial services has been the worst offending sector since 2007, with non-compliance fines standing at £36.2m. Estate agency has seen a total of £563,361 issued in fine 2017, with the biggest fine sitting at £266,793. The sector’s proportion of fines issued sits at 21%, the second largest of any sector.

The same research firm recently revealed that there were an estimated 5.5m anti-money laundering (AML) and identity checks conducted across the UK property market over the last year, at a cost of £15.5m. On the cost and importance of AML checks to the sector, Barnett said:

“AML and identity checks are a reality of the world we live in and they go a long way in the fight against organised criminals, who have long targeted the UK property market in order to launder their ill-gotten gains.However, they can be both time consuming and expensive for those working within the sector, who are already under extreme pressure due to the high volume of transactions that are taking place.”

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