Her Majesty’s Revenue recently fined 30 property firms for breaches of anti-money laundering regulations. Several firms were levied with heavy penalties including a £52,000 fine for Bond Wolfe Auctions and Lloyds Property Group £15,000.
The property industry dominated this latest list of 79 companies penalised and made up almost half of all of the penalty notices published. The total amount imposed was over £300,000.
Yet astonishingly, 12 of the 30 property firms had previously been in contact with Credas but had opted not to proceed with our efficient and low cost AML solution, perhaps ironically, due to budget and time constraints.
Consequently they have been hauled over the coals not just financially but have been named on the HMRC’s website as ‘Businesses that have not complied with the regulations’.
Protecting the property sector from money launders has become a key responsibility for Estate Agents to whether they like it or not. Unfortunately, this burden will only get heavier still as the Government delegates more accountability to agents and lawyers. The fines being regularly levied are becoming significant and those seen here in the latest round of penalties have topped £50,000 yet many have been higher previously, much higher, because they are levied on a percentage of the company’s revenue.
We understand that Estate Agents simply want to get on with the business of selling and letting houses and that compliance can sometimes be seen another undue pressure during the this process. Yet there are technological solutions like Credas that are easy to implement and cheap to use now which can help Agents avoid vulnerability to big fines and bad PR.
To think, the cost ‘saving’ that some of the transgressors thought they had made by not spending a small amount on a digital AML process will have been tiny compared to the ultimate fine that has now been imposed upon them. Implementing the Credas AML process is very quick, very easy and can be set up in less than ten minutes and costs from as little as £60 per month.
To help we’ve put together a new AML guide for Estate Agents that clearer defines what’s expected and how technology can help. We also offer a professional AML audit service that can identity gaps in your current policies and processes.