The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has warned its members that they must comply with Anti Money Laundering (AML) regulations. The move follows an announcement from HMRC that it had fined online estate agency, emoov, for breaching the AML rules.
The previous management of emoov was fined £3,721 for failures in policy, procedures and staff diligence. The company that now owns the emoov name was not involved in the breaches.
NAEA Propertymark has used the fine to highlight to members that it is a legal requirement to give all relevant employees anti-money laundering training. The Association has published a list of actions agents must take on its website:
- Develop a written, up-to-date risk assessment of the location you operate in, the customers you have and the value of transactions you are undertaking
- Prepare a written policy statement and procedures to show how your business will manage the risks of money laundering
- Train and support staff to understand and implement these policies
- Ensure that procedures and audit processes are applied to all branches in or outside the UK
- Appoint a nominated officer (Money Laundering Reporting Officer – MLRO) to report suspicious activity to the National Crime Agency (NCA)
- Ensure suitable control measures are in place.
James Burgoyne, Director – Claims & Technical, Brunel Professions welcomed the NAEA’s advice. “Estate agents can be exposed to money laundering activity, due to the high value of property transactions, and when cases come to light there are inevitably suspicions and investigations around collusion. These are very uncomfortable even for parties who have done nothing wrong. NEAE’s advice for agents is timely and is an essential guide for agents to follow, whether they are a member of the Association or not.”
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