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Purplebricks’ AML problems are ‘tip of the iceberg’ for industry

Warning is made by leading industry supplier after hybrid agency confirms it is ‘in discussions with HMRC’ over the company's procedures.

Sheila Manchester

Following the news that HMRC is ‘in discussions’ with Purplebricks about the online agent’s AML procedures, estate agents across the country have been given a warning from a leading industry supplier, Veriphy.

“With HMRC audits now a regular occurrence and, given the level of potential fines for non-compliance, any agency that still cuts AML corners is asking for trouble,” says George Stark , MD of Veriphy.

“As we see with Purplebricks’ current concerns, and Countrywide’s recent £215,000 fine, the costs of non-compliance are now a potential threat to any company, no matter what their size.”

However, the fines for money laundering are one thing, the prison sentences should be even more of a deterrent, with an average jail term of 27 months, according to research by Thomson Reuters.

It is a criminal offence to trade as an estate agency business without being registered with HMRC for money laundering supervision, but there is more to it than being registered, the checks are complex, but there are solutions.

Veriphy’s 15,000 clients have access to a full suite of solutions for AML checks on people and companies, online training for all staff members, and a policy document tailored to the firm.

It also offers a powerful batch check facility, that allows rapid and regular checking of client bases in accordance with UK AML regulations. “We pride ourselves on having given peace of mind to so many worried businesses”, says Stark, “and there is certainly good cause to worry if your AML procedures are not watertight.”

Read more about AML.

Further advice:

NAEA Propertymark: https://www.naea.co.uk/lobbying/money-laundering-regulations/

RICS: https://www.rics.org/uk/upholding-professional-standards/standards-of-conduct/aml-bribery-corruption-terrorist-financing/

September 13, 2019

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