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Anti-money laundering: NAEA says many agencies haven't nominated key roles

The National Association of Estate Agents admits that “take up has been low” in its bid to persuade each member agent to identify a nominated Money Laundering Reporting Officer and deputy.

In a detailed response to the government’s ‘anti-red tape’ review of the impact on business of current anti-money laundering regulations, the NAEA has set out its attempt to train and inform members about AML issues.

The association meets with HMRC every three months and hosts free masterclasses for members with speakers from HMRC itself, the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team, the National Crime Agency and one of the three official redress organisations, The Property Ombudsman. 


But its response then adds: “NAEA has also asked every PPD [member agent] to complete a form identifying the nominated Money Laundering Reporting Officer and Deputy and their contact details. We intend to communicate with relevant staff with important legislation updates and useful information. So far the take up has been low, but we are continuing to push this initiative with our members.” 

The response goes on to explain a problem with London sales processes, where it is common practice for an estate agent to take on an instruction and to use sub-agents to find a buyer. “Therefore many sub-agents in London are concerned that under the current rules they can’t rely on the main agent’s own due diligence and must carry out their own checks” says the NAEA response. 

The association says that ideally sub-agents should be able to share AML information from the main agent - while bearing in mind appropriate legal obligations - rather than conducting multiple checks.

At the end of its submission, the NAEA says training is perhaps the most essential and effective means of getting agents to recognise and report potential money laundering problems.

Specifically it calls on the government to give more help through HMRC.

The submission ends with: “The guidance from HMRC (Money Laundering Regulations 2007: supervision of Estate Agency Businesses) should include working examples of estate agents who have given reports to the NCA and the outcome to better explain to staff and MLROs about how long the process can take and what happens if the report is acted upon or not. 

“If the process could include priority and non-priority reporting to the NCA this may lead to greater detail being provided as well as more initial reports filed. A more integrated approach with mortgage advisers, solicitor and estate agents working together to gather information may also help.”

You can read the full submission here.

  • sharon hewitt

    We have our first Money Laundering phone interview today to see if our policies and procedures are in place.
    Having listened to a webinar and read the 44 page document from HRMC to understand what policies and procedures are needed left us feeling even more in the dark than before.
    We agree this is needed to avoid laundered money to be cleaned through property purchases but more clear concise help and guidance from HRMC to avoid Money Laundering is essential.
    However, Relocation Agents being encompassed under the umbrella as Estate Agents is stretching the tendrils too far.
    Our purchases generally go through Estate Agents who have their own checks if not it will go through a Solicitor who have their checks also. Why then do we need to triple check the trail of funds?

  • Jonathan Rolande

    This is such a serious issue it is a good thing NAEA are so willing to get involved.

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    Can't tell whether that is sarcastic or not, Jonathan?

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    Have to agree with Sharon. Why on Earth do we have to triple check a buyer when quite frankly as an agent we are not even processing the funds ! this should be the sole responsibility of the selling solicitor, it's a complete nonsense, quite frankly the person who decided everyone on the trail should be doing the check is a complete idiot.

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    Has anyone ever stood up and said "it was me what done it" ?


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