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Exclusive: Lonres snaps up leading AML consultancy as HMRC ramps up inspections

Prime agents are increasingly under scrutiny by HMRC over their AML practices, which has prompted Lonres to acquire Financial Crime Services.

Nigel Lewis

lonres

Business-to-business trading platform Lonres has bought leading AML consultancy Financial Crime Services (FCS), which is a key provider to estate agents via the NAEA’s Propertymark training organisation, The Negotiator can reveal.

The announcement follows warnings from Lonres that HMRC has been significantly increasing its efforts to inspect companies within London’s high-risk prime estate agency market, many of whom are subscribers to its instruction-sharing service.

“Sales agents have been telling me that the two greatest challenges they face at the moment are selling homes in the current market, and complying with AML regulations,” says Jerry Walters, MD of FCS (left).

“At the core of this challenge is that complying with AML isn’t a black and white affair; the rules are open to interpretation and each agent has to take a risk-based approach.”

The acquisition of FCS by Lonres follows the launch three years ago by Lonres of its Rescheck service which vets subscribing agents to ensure they have complied with the AML regulations before being allowed to use its platform.

Following the launch, Payne (pictured, left) says they were approached by an increasing number of its agents asking where to get AML services and he began casting around the market.

“Two staff from our office signed up to go on one of Jerry’s NAEA all-day courses and to be honest they weren’t thrilled by the prospect,” says Anthony.

“But they came back raving about the course saying it was brilliantly engaging so, eventually, we began talking to Jerry about acquiring his business after subscribing Lonres agents also told us it was competitively priced and that they liked its team’s police backgrounds.”

The acquisition of FCS does not mean its services will be only available to Lonres subscribers; its work with residential and commercial agents from across the UK inside and outside the Lonres network will continue.

Read our more indepth interview with Payne and Walters in the October issue The Negotiator magazine, out now.

Read more about AML.

September 30, 2019

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