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Shocking levels of non-compliance with AML rules highlighted by report

Nearly a third of agents say they are unsure if they’re legally compliant with AML and just 65% believe their firms meet the requirements even though it has been a legal requirement for two years.

Sheila Manchester

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It’s the issue that everyone wishes would just go away, but in a study by iamproperty almost a third of estate agencies are unsure whether their company meets current HMRC requirements for AML purposes.

Since 2017, estate agents have been subject to stringent AML regulations, including due diligence and further checks on vendors and buyers – for every property sale. Failure to do so can see agents fined and even imprisoned.

Findings from iamproperty’s research include:

  • 46% of estate agents believe that AML regulations are equally understood and implemented by agencies across the country
  • Half of the respondents thought AML regulations were ‘somewhat clear’ and 11% were ‘unclear’
  • 40% did not take in (required) annual AML training
  • 65% were unconcerned about a visit from HMRC
  • 25% knew of a firm that faced an HMRC fine, yet 40% of those admitted to no changes being brought in or new policies adopted.

Ben Ridgway, Group MD at iamproperty (left) says: “This research has given us a revealing new insight into the understanding of and adherence to the increasing regulatory burden facing estate agents.

“Under the current regulatory environment, it’s never been more important for estate agents to undertake a thorough examination of each and every sale, using whatever tools they can to reduce the impact on their business.”

  • 38% of respondents believed that the 10% drop in reports to the National Crime Agency was due to a difficult selling market and a heightened fear of losing sales.
  • 20% suggested it could also be down to estate agents having little time to report activity they perceive as suspicious.

Ridgway adds: “Almost a third of estate agents were still managing their compliance manually and relying on their instinct to flag concerns with an aspect of a sale.

“Yet, they are faced with an increasingly challenging selling market. We are excited to launch our new compliance platform, iamproperty compliance, designed to take the hard work out of managing AML compliance. Estate agents cannot simply rely on their senses when sniffing out suspicious activity.”

Iamproperty will be on Blackfriars Lane, Southwark, London, on 11th February 2020, encouraging estate agents and passers-by to see if they can smell the difference between clean and laundered money.

The government rushed through legislation in early January to comply with the latest AML directive from Europe.

February 4, 2020

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