The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is to lead a global crack-down on agents to enforce minimum standards of anti-money laundering prevention within the industry and tackle criminal activity head on.
This is to include a ‘professional statement’ they will need to sign up to which will now be consulted on until the end of July.
It will require them to report any breaches by other agents of anti-bribery and corruption laws and to tell bosses if they receive charity sponsorship donations from suppliers that could be construed as a bribe.
RICS’ announcement coincides neatly with yesterday’s landmark ruling by the Court of Appeal in two property fraud cases.
Once the consultation is finished, the new ‘Professional Statement’ will be adopted by member agents and branches to minimise their exposure to the risk of bribery, corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing during their day-to-day activities.
“The property sector is a well-known target for illegal financial activity because it is used as a vehicle to legitimise or “clean” the proceeds of illegally obtained funds, often in a single transaction,” says RICS.
The organisation claims it has been moved to take a lead after several recent reports into the global property industry including one by the United Nations identified the sector as particularly vulnerable to illicit funds.
Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Property Standards Director and former NAEA group chief executive (pictured), says: “As a global professional body, RICS has a responsibility to ensure that we set out the minimum requirements and obligations for our professionals and regulated firms to ensure their activities do not involve or facilitate bribery, corruption, money laundering or terrorist financing.
“It is therefore imperative that our practitioners, regulated firms, clients of surveying services and other stakeholders participate in the consultation and that our final standard reflects the reality of a modern profession and professional practice.”