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Agents submit more suspicious activity reports

Estate agents submitted 30% more Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and Defence Against Money Laundering (DAML) SARs last year, research suggests.

Analysis by Thirdfort has found the total number of SARs, including DAML SARs, submitted by estate agents increased from 1,094 in 2021/2022 to 1,421 in 2022/2023. 

But with 24,965 estate agencies in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics, this means only a small number are actually submitting SARs, Thirdfort warns, even though the Treasury and the Home Office assessed estate agents at ‘medium’ risk for money laundering.


Harriet Holmes, AML services manager at Thirdfort, said: "Our analysis shows a positive increase in the amount of SARs submitted by the sector. This is significant, given the important role that agents play as gatekeepers in the regulated sector. It ultimately supports protecting society from fraud and money laundering

“While SARs submissions from estate agents have grown, so have the risks posed by fraud and money laundering. So, agencies should continue to take a thorough approach to their anti-money laundering obligations and encourage employees to engage with the compliance process and raise issues when they spot them. By being more proactive about AML, estate agents can stay on the right side of the regulations beyond the submission of SARs."

Thirdfort’s analysis of National Crime Agency figures shows 50 sectors submitted more than 934,000 SARs and DAML SARs across the year.  Banks submitted the most SARs in 2022/2023, registering just over 560,000 SARs and almost 75,000 DAML SARs in total.


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