Increasing numbers of women are being flagged during anti-money laundering (AML) compliance checks.
AML platform Credas Technologies suggests the main reason for this is if a woman is purchasing with a spouse but hasn’t changed her surname on identity documents.
The firm’s data for January to May 2022 shows female buyers make up 51% of all AML checks within the property sector, the third consecutive year where women have accounted for a larger proportion of AML activity than men.
Prior to 2020, the data from Credas shows that women only accounted for a third of AML checks carried out across the UK property sector.
However, when it comes to those being approved during the AML process, it’s men that remain more likely to be approved, accounting for 51% of all AML approvals so far in 2022 having also accounted for the majority of AML approvals every year since 2018.
In contrast, 54% of those flagged during the AML process so far in 2022 have been female.
This increase is likely due to the sheer increase in market activity seen in recent years, with almost a million mortgages being approved in 2021 - a 127,126 annual increase, Credas said.
At the same time, the level of mortgage loans being issued to joint applicants has also increased, accounting for 59.8% of the total market in 2021, versus 58.8% the year before.
Tim Barnett, chief executive of Credas Technologies, said: “There’s been a very clear rebalancing of the playing field in recent years where the proportion of AML market activity by gender is concerned.
“This is no doubt the result of heightened market activity as a whole, but also due to an increase in the number of joint mortgage applications being made.
“Of course, an increase in the volume of female buyers and sellers being checked is naturally going to increase the number of those being flagged for AML discrepancies.
“However, there is one very common cause that’s seeing proportionally more females flagged during the AML compliance process when compared to their male counterparts.
“All too often, female buyers and sellers who are transacting alongside a partner are submitting documentation with an incorrect name. This can act as an automatic red flag when it comes to verifying their identity.
“While it’s certainly not a money laundering offence in itself, it can delay the already lengthy, protected process of a property transaction.”