Anti-Money laundering high on UK Government’s agenda

Following HM Treasury approval, on 27 July 2022 the UK Government updated guidance for estate and letting agent businesses supervised for anti-money laundering. Designed to help agents comply with the Money Laundering Regulations 2017, it covers customer due diligence, record keeping and reporting suspicious activity. 

Grey sofa in well furnished property.jpg

The guidance has been in effect since 10 January 2020 when the Fifth Money Laundering Directive came into force, extending the requirements to relevant letting agency businesses, but the document had not received HM Treasury approval.

Agents should continue to familiarise themselves with the guidance and take appropriate steps to identify and assess the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing which their business could face.

Written Risk Assessment
Establish and maintain an up-to-date written risk assessment that is appropriate to the size of the agency.

Written policy on how to manage the risk
Property agents must establish, maintain and review written policies, controls and procedures to mitigate and manage effectively the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing identified in any risk assessment.

Internal controls
Appoint a senior manager as Nominated Officer/ Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) responsible for the agency’s compliance with the rules.

group with trainer.jpg
Training courses

Our courses cater for everyone no matter what stage you are at in your career. They are delivered by industry experts and cover a large variety of property-related subjects.

FATF Risk-Based Approach Guidance for the Real Estate Sector

In July, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, revised its Risk-Based Approach Guidance for the Real Estate Sector. The UK’s regulation of money laundering ultimately derives from the FATF standards. The guidance highlights

the importance for the sector to increase its understanding of the money laundering and terrorist financing risks it faces. Propertymark’s Policy and Campaigns Team were instrumental in helping to draft the guidance through a project which CEPI co-lead with the Governments of Canada and the United States of America.

Property agents must continue to take appropriate measures to adequately mitigate the risks of money laundering to their businesses. Without action the UK property market remains vulnerable to attack. Propertymark has a library of resources and training courses to help our members to do this.

We know that additional legislative measures will be introduced as part of a second Economic Crime Bill later this year to safeguard and support the UK’s open economy and it’s clear from the review that the UK Government is proposing further work through a second Economic Crime Plan to improve the implementation of the regulatory framework. Alongside action from businesses, effective supervision is key, and we will continue to work with the UK Government to shape future reforms.

Timothy Douglas
Timothy Douglas Head of Policy and Campaigns | Propertymark

UK Government publish review of AML regime

At the end of June the UK Government published a review of the UK’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Countering the Finance of Terrorism (CFT) regime, in response to the call for evidence launched last year.

The UK Government also published two post-implementation reviews to fulfil its statutory obligations; one on the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 and one on the Oversight of Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPAS) Regulations 2017.

Taken together, these three documents make a thorough evaluation of the role of the regulations in the UK’s anti-money laundering regime and set out the next steps to improve their effectiveness, according to the UK Government.

The Review points to the new Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act, which introduces a new 'Register of Overseas Entities Beneficial Ownership of UK property' to tackle foreign criminals using UK property to launder money and reforms the UK’s Unexplained Wealth Orders regime, in order to help reveal the true owners of UK property.

According to the report, the responses to the Call for Evidence from the property sector agreed that the collection and provision of Beneficial Ownership information should be a key aim of the MLRs and pointed to the challenges they face in carrying out customer due diligence (CDD) in the context of complex corporate structures.

A smaller number of respondents noted concerns that some estate and letting agents had not yet registered for supervision with HMRC.

free Download
Front cover of Propertymark's How to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations
Get your free Anti-Money Laundering guide

To receive a copy of our Anti-Money Laundering guide simply complete the form and you will receive an email to download the guide.

Read the policy paper