The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has revised its Anti-Money Laundering guidance in the light of Coronavirus.
It says the scale of serious organised crime, including money laundering is estimated to cost the UK around £24 billion.
The guide ensures regulated firms comply with RICS’ professional standards but does not provide legal advice on specific obligations for firms carrying out regulated activities. It cautions that advice from a legal professional or AML supervisor may still be required.
The measures included in the update cover:
- Recommendations to update existing AML and bribery risk assessments in light of the economic and business disruption caused by COVID-19;
- Plans on how to counter-act the risk of cybercrime, as criminals potentially pose as solicitors and the like;
- Options to verify clients digitally and extra measures to ensure people are who they say they are;
- Increased checks for high risk transactions;
- Training and staff continuity procedures, to cover employee illness or furloughing;
- Digitisation of all documents to ensure clear auditing trails remain present.
Last year, we set mandatory professional standards following our work with the UK government and Transparency International to reduce the risk for the UK property market and increase market confidence” explains Christine O’Rourke, RICS head of conduct standards.
“When money laundering is estimated to account for up to five per cent of global GDP our updated guidance supports RICS professionals to uphold their standards through COVID-19 challenges as they adapt to the new business and economic climate” she continues.