Nearly a fifth of all estate agents have been fined for non-compliance with the UK’s recently-introduced Anti Money Laundering (AML) regulations, it has been claimed.
The research has been carried out by online identity verification service firm Credas, which says it believes agents were not given enough time or information by the government to prepare for AML, with predictable results.
It polled 100 agents and found 19% of them had been fined for AML non-compliance by an average £11,842, although a third had been fined much more, at between £15,000 and £25,000.
One of the duties estate agents must complete to be compliant with AML regulations is to store all their documentation relating to clients, financial transactions and other Anti Money Laundering paperwork.
“We are concerned that 32% of the agents surveyed are still using a paper filing system to store their AML data,” says Credas CEO Rhys David (left).
“There are so many digital solutions available on the market which will help agents with data storage and management, that there is no need to still depend on an old-fashioned filing cabinet and introduce risk.
“Credas solves both those problems as it stores all the AML data in a secure cloud environment, which gives agents a clear audit trail and assurance that the data is safe and protected.”
Estate agents, along with six other business sectors, are required to perform numerous duties to prevent money laundering.
These include checking client identities, assessing the risk of criminals using their business to launder cash, checking beneficial ownership of companies buying and selling properties through them, nominating a money laundering officer and reporting suspicious activity.
Read out guide to AML compliance.