A property sourcing agency in Oxfordshire included within a list of companies that have not complied with HMRC anti money-laundering (AML) has taken the unusual step of explaining its fine.
Jess Simpson Ltd is listed on the latest HMRC list as being fined £6,300 for ‘failing to apply for registration at the required time’ along with two other estate agencies.
These are Landmark Sales & Letting Ltd in Reading which has been fined £5,300 for due diligence failures, and London agency Robert Holmes & Co, which has been fined £6,591 for failing to have the correct policies, controls and internal procedures.
But Jess Simpson, the MD of her eponymous agency, has made the unusual move to explain her company’s fine.
A statement says: “A fine was issued to Jess Simpson Ltd earlier in the year due to trading for a period of time without being registered with HMRC.
“During this time, and since the company was established in 2017, Jess Simpson Ltd has been following the Anti-Money Laundering guidelines, carefully ensuring that all clients and respective sellers comply with all necessary regulations.
“Jess Simpson Ltd uses a respected agency to audit and monitor AML compliance activities. As a result of their review, the oversight of non-registration came to light. Jess Simpson Ltd immediately registered with HMRC and the fine was issued.”
Simpson (pictured), who is a former Strutt & Parker agent. adds: “Since the inception of the company, we have always complied with the level of diligence required to meet the Anti-Money Laundering regulations, something we take very seriously.
“Unfortunately, failure to register the business with HMRC at the appropriate time has resulted in a fine. Thankfully this has been quickly rectified and Jess Simpson Ltd complies accordingly.”
Nathan Emerson, Propertymark CEO says: “Propertymark expects members to operate at high standards, and our compliance and regulation work is an important part of meeting those standards.
“We monitor agents named by HMRC and open a case against them. Those cases involve gathering evidence through investigations as well as the HMRC report.
“Cases then enter into a disciplinary and tribunal process which will consider the evidence and decide if the imposed fine is sufficient or if more action is deemed appropriate.
“Anti-money laundering processes are important for agents to safeguard against criminal activity and to protect their reputations as robust professionals. As a body who wants to support and educate agents we offer anti-money laundering resources and training – the details of which can be found on the Propertymark website.”