Anti-money laundering: Make our lives easier, agents tell industry bodies

Estate agents have called on the trade and professional bodies to do more to help industry compliance with anti-money laundering rules.

Attendees at a round table on AML expressed frustration at what they saw as the unnecessary complexity of compliance, and the lack of enforcement.

They said that bodies such as the NAEA, RICS and Law Society should work more closely with the Government to reduce duplication on the number of checks having to be made, and create more opportunities to share information.

The round table, chaired by Michael Day, looked at how businesses were carrying out their obligations.

Day said: “The meeting involved  an excellent cross-section of those operating in the agency sector including small independent and larger estate agency groups, franchised businesses, buying agency and auction houses.

“There was considerable experience in the room but also a reasonable degree of frustration amongst delegates as to the inconsistencies of approach, compliance and policing across the sector.

“Many of the same frustrations and challenges are also faced in the conveyancing and legal sectors.

“The meeting was never going to find a straightforward solution to an increasingly difficult area of compliance.

“There was however a consensus that a more joined-up approach, better public understanding and subsequent stronger enforcement should be achievable.”

The meeting was facilitated by Thirdfort, a provider of ID and other AML checks.

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4 Comments

  1. James Wilson

    Good to see acceptance creeping into EA. Wasn’t long ago that central London agents were commenting on public forums that money laundering was essentially a “good thing” and AML regulation was an affront to his business!

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  2. Property Money Tree

    The problem is that a lot of people don’t recognise that they can push back against the government, sadly, they also don’t understand what they are doing.

    I once had a very large Lettings agent tell me it “needed” to carry out AML checks on me as a Landlord.  After I recovered from the shock, I fell about laughing.

    As the agents were not going to receive 1p from me directly, AML wasn’t in point at all.

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    1. MichaelDay

      Plenty of money laundering opportunity involving landlords. An example would be a LL with T on the “payroll” and who launders money via the letting agent.

      5th money laundering directive (law by Jan next year) will tighten requirements on Lettings.

      AML compliance requirements are not dependent upon whether someone is paying the agent or whether funds go via the agent or not.

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  3. simon_b

    @Property Money Tree

    Not entirely sure what you mean by most people can push back against the Government? Are you saying people do not have to comply with AML regulations? and can simply refuse to carry out any form of AML check? As this is clearly just not the case.

    Whilst the updated 4th Money Laundering Directive and the more recently updated version is very clear that this is for the sales market, this article from 2017 makes for an interesting read.

    https://www.propertyindustryeye.com/letting-agent-told-by-bank-to-do-anti-money-laundering-checks-on-all-clients-despite-latest-directive/

     

     

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