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Brexit to increase anti-money laundering red tape, agents expect

The industry is braced for more anti-money laundering compliance processes according to a risk consultancy.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions claims its survey shows that nearly four fifths of compliance professionals across the UK’s regulated industries - including estate agency - predict more anti-money laundering regulation is on the way as a result of Brexit. 

Its study of over 875 compliance professionals show overwhelming support (81 per cent) for the UK’s recent opt out of the forthcoming EU 6th Anti-Money Laundering Directive - a decision taken because many of its requirements are already covered by existing UK law. 

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However, firms are taking it as a signal that the UK is seeking to diverge further from EU AML regulations, and create its own possibly more extensive approach.

Nina Kerkez, director of UK&I consulting at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, says: “As a result of Brexit, we have seen the regulator increase powers to implement more effective regulation which is well suited to the changing needs of the UK, and it’s encouraging to see support from the regulated industries as we diverge from the EU’s approach to AML regulations.

“We are likely to see increased regulation on the horizon as the regulator flexes its new-found muscles and this autonomy will allow the regulator to tailor controls to the UK’s specific needs when it comes to tackling money laundering. 

“However, they cannot ignore recent revelations that professionals are already struggling to keep up with what is expected of them when it comes to AML regulatory compliance.”

Compliance professionals across sectors including estate agency have revealed that they’re on average only 60 per cent of the way through their 5th EU directive implementation plans, despite the regulation coming into force on January 2020.

That was the final EU directive on this subject that the UK signed up to.

Kerkez adds: “This combination of the increasing regulatory burden, a heightened threat of regulator action, and a majority of firms struggling with implementing effective AML controls is a perfect storm of issues that could threaten to further hamper efforts to prevent money laundering to pervade through the UK financial system.”

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