Propertymark investigates 5 agents for AML non-compliance

Propertymark investigates 5 agents for AML non-compliance

10:40 AM, 12th October 2022, About 2 years ago

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Propertymark has opened compliance cases against five letting agent members following the latest HMRC publication of businesses who have failed to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.

The list of businesses who haven’t complied with the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 during the period 1 January 2022 to 31 March 2022, showed 68 agents had been issued penalties, five of which are Propertymark members.

Across the whole list, the nature of the published breaches includes failing to apply for registration at the required time, failure in carrying out risk assessments, having correct policies, controls and procedures in place; conducting due diligence and record keeping; and failures in the provision of registration information.

Breaching money laundering rules

HMRC says its latest crackdown led to the 68 estate agents being fined £519,645 for breaching money laundering rules.

Nick Sharp, HMRC’s deputy director of economic crime, said: “We are determined to create a level playing field for businesses who play by the rules.

“That means taking action against the minority of businesses who fail to fulfil their legal responsibilities under the money laundering regulations.”

HMRC regularly publishes a list of firms that have breached the AML rules and the latest list has 175 businesses being penalised.

Working to support members in reviewing compliance with legislation

Now Propertymark says it is working to support members in reviewing compliance with legislation and this is a key area for its team of Compliance Auditors.

This involves regular reminders about responsibility and liability, updates on HMRC and Trading Standards enforcement and penalties, and information on data protection.

Propertymark says that it knows that compliance can be a minefield for both lettings and sales agents and legislation is constantly changing so its visits from its compliance team have proven to be invaluable to its members.

Review and support the procedures agents have

The organisation undertakes visits in person and is currently undergoing development to get its team members out and about more frequently to review and support the procedures agents have in place.

This provides an opportunity for agents to get feedback on how they comply, have open discussions about how best to implement any new regulations, guidance and best practice, and ensure they are up to speed with what can seem like a constantly evolving industry.

Propertymark’s goal is to achieve visits to each of its member firms at least once within a five-year rolling period and unlike HMRC or Trading Standards, the regulatory body gives a minimum of 10 working days’ notice before a visit.

Legislative compliance is key to the industry body’s membership with many members referencing this as their reason to join.

Members are also directed to check the criteria for anti-money laundering registration on joining Propertymark.

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