Callcredit warns estate agencies to get their house in order following the recent announcement of fines for breach of money laundering regulations
Fines totalling over £200,000 have been given by the OFT to three estate agents for what can only be described as failures to comply with anti-money laundering regulations (AML).
Callcredit is concerned other agencies could be vulnerable to money laundering or terrorist financing activity through insufficient customer due diligence, and AML processes. With anti-money laundering powers and responsibilities now passed to HMRC for estate agency purposes this means agencies can only expect an even tougher crackdown.
Over the last two years money laundering has increased in the UK by over 300% alone; from £70m laundered in 2012, to £288 million in 2013*. Callcredit recommends estate agencies, and other organisations that could be target by money launderers, to have robust AML checks in place and ensure they are complying with regulation or face a civil or criminal prosecution.
Dan Ranga, Solutions Analyst Fraud and ID, Callcredit said: “Money Laundering Regulations are designed to protect the UK financial system and with the latest round of fines, as the OFT hands over responsibility to HMRC, I expect there will be even tougher crackdowns ahead. I urge estate agents and other organisations that could be target by money launderers to ensure they have solutions in place to meet with AML regulations.
“That doesn’t mean costly time consuming procedures, there are solutions available that provide a quick and easy online service that are designed to meet AML regulations, prevent fraud reduce operational costs and improve customer satisfaction.”