Fresh analysis of HMRC data has found that UK estate agents are increasingly demonstrating their commitment to anti-money laundering, with more newly AML-registered businesses than any other sector.
Credas Technologies, which carried out the study, points to the most recent HMRC data, which showed that estate agency businesses accounted for 38% of all annual AML registrations, and also that this number had climbed by 64% on the previous year.
The property market has long been a target for criminal activity and money laundering in particular, and so the fact that more agents are embracing AML compliance is welcome news, according to Tim Barnett, chief executive of Credas Technologies.
He commented: “The UK property market has been a key target for criminal activity for far too long and so it’s great to see that the nation’s estate agents are leading from the front in the fight against this criminality.
“Historically the industry has suffered from a lack of AML regulations and the failure to share information across all professional parties involved in a transaction has further hampered attempts to identify illegal activity.
“We’ve also seen insufficient levels of checks being carried out on buyers, particularly those from overseas, and this has stemmed from an over reliance on ID checking software that is either unfit for purpose, or not fully understood by those using it.
“The industry has now woken up to the threat we face. AML compliance is no longer a box ticking exercise to satisfy HMRC.”