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Don’t leave AML checks to your accountant, agents advised

Agents are being urged to keep an eye on their HMRC Government Gateway Account to ensure they don’t miss messages and updates about anti-money laundering (AML) supervision.

It comes as average fines for AML failures rose in the estate agency sector last year.

Paul Offley, group compliance officer at The Guild of Property Professionals, suggested many agents ‘miss’ an important message regarding their renewal or information relating to responsible people, which can have severe consequences for firms. 


He said: “A business that misses their AML supervision renewal can face penalties which are based on turnover for the number of days they fail to be registered.

“In almost all cases this is not intentional but gets overlooked for a variety of reasons, for example in the instance where the Government Gateway account is managed by an accountant for finance purposes and the AML section gets overlooked.

“It is also important to keep information on your ‘responsible people’ up to date including the names of all directors, whether active in the business or not, and evidence of training which they have received.”

Offley recommends that agents have a process for checking the AML part of their Government Gateway on a regular basis to avoid any potential issues.

He added: “This is only one part of helping to keep compliant and if you are a responsible person, you should be able to demonstrate that your business risk assessment, AML policies and procedures are all up to date.

“It is also imperative that you have a record of training which has been provided to teams, that you have processes in place to ensure AML verification is completed in a timely manner and that record keeping is maintained.”

- The ValPal Network recently partnered with AML specialist SmartSearch to provide several tips to help agents with full AML compliance and avoid penalties.

> Request your free copy of the tips.

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    Does anyone know why we have to pay the government for an AML registration, when we are expected to do all the work for them at the risk of being fined so much we could go under? I can't think of any other thing you pay for and get nothing in return? Its like having to pay for your meal in a restaurant and then having to go and cook it and wash the pots!


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