Almost six out of ten estate agents believe that money laundering is not a problem in their area – and almost nine in ten say it is enough to rely on their instincts.
The findings are in new research from iamproperty, which is entering the anti-money laundering compliance market.
Questioning 150 agents, it found that 88% believe that their instincts alone can detect money laundering.
The four most common red flags are: sellers reluctant to provide ID documents and proof that they own the property; purchase funds coming from an unknown source; cash buyers; sellers who have bought six months ago and are looking to sell again, even at a reduced price.
The research also found that 42% of agents would not continue with a full AML check if speed were essential to the sale, if they knew the buyer, or if the agent did not think it necessary.
Iamproperty created a ‘smell the difference’ campaign.
It took over a billboard in London infused with the smell of money (created with a perfumer) and asked invited estate agents together with passers-by to grab a banknote to see if they could smell the difference between the laundered and regular “cash”.
The answer of course being that there is no difference, and agents can no longer rely on their senses to sniff out money laundering.
The boarding is still up, in Blackfriars Road, but the “money” has had to be removed due to high winds.