London-focussed business-to-business deal data service LonRes has acquired an anti-money laundering compliance consultancy specialising in residential and commercial property.
Financial Crime Services, which says its staff members come from a law enforcement background in the City of London police force, has been working with a number of property companies and the National Association of Estate Agents on health checks for companies.
The checks include compliance and due diligence on individuals, trusts and companies; the preparation of policies and procedures; risk assessment; HMRC audit support; best practice internal audits; and training.
The LonRes acquisition comes at a time when HMRC is targeting estate agents as part of a wider money laundering crackdown.
In recent guidelines it made clear that they expect agents to put in place controls and procedures to deal with AML and terrorist financing and ensure that they resource it.
Jerry Walters, Financial Crime Services managing director, says: “AML policy is becoming ever more complex and for those who fail to understand it, the fines are large. It is easy to be unwittingly non-compliant, but for HMRC this is no defence. The London property market has been ear-marked as a centre for money laundering.”
Meanwhile LonRes managing director Anthony Payne adds: “We introduced ResCheck – the mandatory LonRes AML service designed for agents operating in the sub agency market – three years ago and the acquisition of Financial Crime Services is a natural progression from this. This latest acquisition forms part of a wider programme aimed at supporting LonRes subscribers through policy changes to the sector.”