Estate agents falling behind with AML compliance

Estate agents are only half way through their Fifth Anti-Money Laundering implementation plans, despite the directive having come into force over a year ago.

This is among the findings of research conducted among almost 900 compliance professionals by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, which suggests that firms are at risk of penalties from the regulator for non-compliance, as well as potentially allowing illicit activity to go undetected.

Despite not being fully compliant yet, of those surveyed, estate agents were optimistic about how impactful 5MLD would be in their ability to detect and deter financial crime, with 77% stating that it would have a net positive impact, higher than the research average of 60%.

Respondents to the poll said the regulator should give more information on how to make their compliance programmes more effective.

Nina Kerkez, director of UK and Ireland Consulting at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, comments: “The regulatory burden of 5MLD is hugely challenging for all industries, but it appears that compliance professionals in the estate agent industry have been on an uphill battle to try and meet the directive’s requirements. It’s not the case that estate agents are resistant to the changes, far from it in fact; they’re able to see the value such regulation can bring to fighting financial crime. Instead, it appears there is a disconnect between the regulator and the support the industry requires to meet its obligations.

“To overcome this issue, we need to see better collaboration from the regulator and the wider private sector, to ensure that all industries are aware of their obligations, and the steps they need to take to ensure compliance.”

Image courtesy PolicyBee

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