An Estate Agent's guide to AML Compliance
As an agent, keeping up to date with AML (anti-money laundering) rules and regulations constantly changing is a vital part of daily work. It is important that AML compliance rules and regulations don’t overwhelm for Estate Agents and exist as a manageable everyday task. Keeping on top of AML compliance through daily checks and ongoing CPD is the best way to ensure this.
Despite the importance of ensuring all property transactions are fully compliant, it was recently found that 25% of Estate Agents are not registered with HMRC for supervision of AML regulations, despite it being a legal requirement for almost five year. For some branches, this can be a criminal offence and result in a hefty fine.
That is why we have collated all the current rules and regulations and the best ways to make sure you are up to date and on top of everything AML related. iamproperty movebutler has a range of online tools to make the AML process easier and makes sure your agency is compliant with all HMRC AML rules and regulations. From online tests to helpful digital platforms, iamproperty is here to help.
Current rules of AML
AML encompasses all of the legal checks that have to take place when a transaction on a property happens, to ensure the money is legitimate and all the correct legal proceedings have taken place. While it can be a long process as an Estate Agent to make sure everything is taken care of, it is key to ensuring a successful transaction. The legislation can be a minefield and navigating the rules to ensure all of the correct procedures are in place is no quick task, which is why we have summarised all the current rules around AML from HMRC.
- Ensure you have a policy, controls and procedures document in place.
- Appoint a nominated Officer to handle all money laundering suspicions. Larger companies are also required to appoint a Deputy Nominated Officer.
- Agencies with more than one branch should appoint a Compliance Officer to ensure the business takes the correct steps to ensure compliance with HMRC requirements.
- Staff training on the risks on money laundering and terrorist financing.
- Identify the existence of all property owners and any other beneficial owners.
- Assess the risk of involvement in money laundering of all sellers, beneficial owners and buyers.
- Depending on the risks assessed, consider the level of identification, verification and ongoing monitoring that would be needed.
- Ensure the completion of customer due diligence on all customers and beneficial owners before entering into a business relationship.
- For individuals that fall into the high risk category, enhanced customer due diligence is required.
- Identify politically exposed persons (PEP). their family members and close associates and verify their identity as well as source of identity and or funds. The National Officer should be informed on such cases to take appropriate monitoring steps.
- Establish whether an individual is named on the HM Treasury Financial Sanctions list.
- Records of each required process must be held, either in paper copy or digital format.
- All transactions must be held for 5 years from the date the business relationship ends.
The risks of failing to be compliant
AML and compliance with HMRC regulations and guidelines is an important part of the job and must be taken seriously. Failure to comply with HMRC regulations regarding AML could lead to civil penalties or criminal persecution. Unlimited fines and prison sentences for up to two years could be issued if an estate agent fails to comply. Not meeting the regulations may lead to money laundering charges under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
How to keep up with the rules as Estate Agents
As an Estate Agent, it is your responsibility to keep on top of things regarding AML and any changes that may occur to the rules. Regularly reading updates from HMRC is a good way to stay on top of things and doing an anti-money laundering certified course as part of CPD, is a good step to making sure everything is in order. Ensuring your whole team is up to date with regulations and CPD trained is one of the best ways to ensure compliance. Since there are so many rules and regulations to keep on top of, iamproperty movebutler is tool that transforms the AML compliance process.
With the launch of movebutler, AML compliance is made simple, with all the information you need in one place. If you have been appointed as your business’ Nominated Officer, the iamproperty team understands you will have a lot on your plate but movebutler is designed to help you in several ways. The administrative burden can be time-consuming but with the risks of HMRC audits, it is vital to dot the i’s and cross the t’s and that's where movebutler comes in handy.
movebutler is the first digital onboarding platform in the UK enables Estate Agents to complete property transactions end to end and helps to ensure compliance with all AML regulations. The advanced compliance module enables full AML checks. Agents even have the option to charge clients for checks such as automatic title checks on the property and online biometric identity verification.
The handy onboarding platform even has due diligence workflows to help agents stay compliant with much more ease. The platform allows estate agents to pull material and information automatically in line with recent guidelines from trading standards.
movebutler streamlines the conveyancing process while reducing admin time and actively encouraging all parties to continuously communicate.
Buying and selling houses is often timely and complex with solicitors, book a demo with movebutler to see how you could streamline your admin and ensure your transactions fall in line with HMRC AML compliance guidelines.
Take the AML compliance test to see how your company would fare in the HMRC AML compliance audit. This quick quiz shouldn't take more than two minutes and helps give you an insight into the type of questions HMRC would ask you in a check.
AML compliance will probably never be your favourite task, but it doesn’t have to be a concern. movebutler is designed to be relied on as a full AML support system, answering all your worries and queries so that you can make sure everything is taken care of.