Over 250 agents fined for AML non-compliance

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced that fines totalling over £1.6 million have been issued for a variety of breaches including missing documentation, incomplete due diligence, and failures to recognise specific risks, such as Politically Exposed Persons, high risk jurisdictions, companies, trusts and sanctions.

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Financial penalties handed to firms range from £1,500 to £50,000, and HMCR states it will publish a follow up list including the names of firms identified as breaching the legislation. 

This is the latest in a series of similar reports in recent years, highlighting how important it is for agencies to take their AML obligations seriously. 

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18 Sep 2019
HMRC highlights money laundering breaches and penalties

Which agencies must register for supervision?

It is a criminal office to trade as an estate agent, high-value dealer (including in the art market), or property auctioneer without being registered with HMRC for AML supervision. This also applies to letting agents if they deal with properties that have monthly rents equivalent to €10,000 (approx. £8,541 as of April 2024) or more.

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02 Jul 2021
AML risk management for art market participants

Legal requirements

The Fifth Money Laundering Directive requires agencies to have procedures in place to anticipate and prevent money laundering. This reduces the risk that criminals may exploit businesses for financial crime.

Steps agents must take include:

  • Develop a written, up-to-date risk assessment of the location operating in, customers and the value of transactions undertaking
  • A written policy statement and procedures to show how the business will manage the risks of money laundering
  • Train and support staff to understand and implement these policies
  • Ensure procedures and audit processes are applied to all branches in or outside the UK
  • Appoint a nominated officer (Money Laundering Reporting Officer - MLRO) to report suspicious activity to the National Crime Agency (NCA) and a Deputy Money Laundering Reporting Officer
  • Ensure suitable control measures are in place

There is a lot of guidance and support to help agents and business owners across the different sectors comply and set up the necessary procedures.

Read guidance for estate and letting agents  →

Read guidance for high value dealers  →

Download AML compliance checklist  →

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15 Nov 2023
Anti-money laundering application advice issued

Supporting Propertymark members

Access to compliance experts

Ongoing work to assist members in reviewing compliance with legislation is a key area for Propertymark’s team of Compliance Auditors.

This includes providing regular reminders about responsibility and liability, updates on HMRC and Trading Standards enforcement and penalties, and information on data protection.

Legislative compliance is key to Propertymark membership with many members referencing this as their reason to join.

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Calm about compliance

Calm about Compliance brings our expertise, as the sector's leading professional body, into your office. Our team of experienced auditors will advise you 1:1 on your agency’s compliance, helping you avoid the hazards that regularly lead to local authority fines.

Propertymark passport

Propertymark Passport is an exclusive benefit for our sales and auctioneering division members to verify customers' identities. It uses biometric checks, like those used at UK Border Control, and will help assess the authenticity of identity documents, regardless of their type or country of origin. The tool uses Trust Stamp technology to authenticate identity and create a report on each customer.

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28 Feb 2019
Propertymark Passport
Training and resources

We have created a vast number of resources, guides, forms, and training options for estate and letting agents and auctioneers to comply with their AML obligations.

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Anti-money laundering (AML) training and resources

We have created a number of resources, forms and training options for agents and auctioneers to comply with their Anti-Money Laundering obligations.