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Agents told to act on key change in Anti-Money Laundering law

The government introduced the Fifth EU Money Laundering Directive into UK law just before Christmas - and it has a significant implication for agents.  

It was introduced as part of The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019 and comes into force in two weeks time in January 10 2020.

This is an amendment to existing regulation but has several new amendments.


One such change says that wherever possible businesses must use electronic verification for their anti-money laundering checks rather than just looking at paper-based documents such as passports and driving licenses.  

According to one PropTech supplier in this niche, this means the estate agency sector will need to implement these changes immediately while letting agents will also be affected, when letting out a property where the rent is €10,000 per month or more. 

Other sectors to now fall under the regulations include financial advisers, art dealers and crypto-currency exchange platforms. 

Failure to comply with the regulations can result in prosecution and heavy financial penalties.

Martin Cheek, managing director of SmartSearch says: “The Fifth Money Laundering Regulations coming into law may well catch a number of people by surprise ... It comes into effect on the 10th January, so companies will not have long to prepare.

“It is the need for electronic verification that is likely to take most people by surprise. Any estate agency or letting agents who do not already have a trusted means of doing this will need to implement this immediately to ensure they are compliant and save themselves from a heavy fine.

“The regulations are designed to help tackle rising levels of fraud and eliminate money laundering, things that are likely to be a key priority for everyone this year.”

  • Rob Hailstone

    So, in theory at least, the agent could use exactly the same electronic verification provider as the property lawyer, on the same people and the same documents? A waste of time and money?

    Lenny White

    ... and our mortgage broker will also use the same one - 3 separate AMLs for one transaction. Dic%^eads rule....

  • icon

    I'm not sure this is right...I have read (skimmed over) the new regs and can see nothing to say that there is a "need for electronic verification". Is this the Proptech industry manipulating agents and scaring them into doing something they don't need to do. Martin Cheek is extremely vague about what is required and does not even mention the paragraph to which he refers.

    Matthew Payne

    It says that electronic ID verification can now be considered as a reliable source, ie: they are satisfied that prop tech companies have beta tested it sufficiently if agents choose to use a firm that offers that. "..electronic identification processes, regulated, recognised, approved or accepted at national level by the national competent authority may be taken into account"

    It is not mandatory, so yes more smoke and mirrors.


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