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Does your business have an AML officer?

Wednesday 19 September 2018

According to new research, just under a third of estate agents aren’t sure whether their agency has any anti-money laundering (AML) processes in place - are you one of them?

A recent study, carried out by ID document and identity verification provider Credas, has reveled that a shocking number of estate agents are unaware what their responsibilities are when it comes to anti-money laundering compliance duties. 

The research, which was conducted between June and July this year, found that of the agents surveyed, 38 per cent believed their businesses did not have an AML officer in place, with a further 19 per cent saying they were unsure if there was an AML officer within the company.

Furthermore, just 16 per cent said they understood the anti-money laundering regulations comprehensively, with four per cent admitting they knew nothing about it at all. 

In June 2017, the anti-money laundering regulations were amended to make them more robust in order to improve the recognition and deterrence of money laundering, and preventing the funding of terrorist activities by performing thorough anti-money laundering checks remain a priority.

Rhys David, CEO of Credas, said: “These statistics are concerning - anti-money laundering non-compliance is a very serious issue for estate agents, with the average fine being £12,000 and sometimes much higher. These results show that more work has to be done by the HMRC and the industry itself to educate agents at all levels on the legislation and its parameters.”

Previous research conducted by OnePoll found that as of this year, nearly a fifth of estate agents (19 per cent) have been fined for anti-money laundering breaches, of which a third were fined between £15,000 and £25,000.

Rhys added: “Between the introduction of GDPR and ever-tightening anti-money laundering regulation, this year is a challenging one for the property sector. For that reason, it’s more important than ever for agents to double check that they would pass an investigation. The concern is that we could soon be faced with a wide range of agents who are paying fines because they underestimated what is legally required of them.”

Helping you to comply

Our brand new 'how to comply' guide will help you get to grips with, and keep on top of your AML responsibilities. Full of helpful advice and key pointers, our guide explains why the issue of money laundering is relevant to you as an agent, and what your business needs to do in order to comply with the law. You can download it from the members area, or you can head along to your next Propertymark Workshop and pick up a hard copy.

Not only will our interactive Workshops keep you up-to-date with the latest AML legislation, our experts speakers will be offering up practical solutions to industry issues and take-away tips for you to implement into your business immediately. They're open to everyone and best of all, they are completely free for members to attend (we'll even throw in a free lunch!)

We also have a top spec facial recognition app, Propertymark Passport, which uses biometric checks like those used at UK Border Control to support you in assessing the authenticity of identification documents, regardless of their type or country of origin - making ID checks easier, faster and cheaper!