The estate agency sector has witnessed a notable surge in Anti-Money Laundering (AML) fines during the 2022/23 financial year. Recent data indicates that estate agents now face an average fine of £5,350, representing a significant 49% increase compared to the previous year. This shift in trend necessitates a closer examination of the underlying factors and emphasizes the importance of technology, such as Verify 365’s risk and compliance platform, in addressing these challenges.

Reasons for the Rising AML Fines

Various factors contribute to the rising AML fines within the estate agency sector. Although these fines remain relatively low compared to other industries, they indicate a changing regulatory landscape and heightened scrutiny. The following factors are likely to have an impact:

Market Uncertainty Pressure

The estate agency industry encounters challenges due to market uncertainties, which can divert attention and resources away from AML compliance efforts. This shift in focus may unintentionally lead to non-compliance and subsequent penalties.

Evolving Regulatory Environment

AML regulations continue to evolve and become more stringent. Estate agents must remain abreast of the latest compliance requirements to avoid penalties. Failure to adapt to new regulations exposes businesses to non-compliance risks.

Need for Stronger AML Due Diligence Focus

With market pressures mentioned above, estate agents may prioritize overcoming obstacles rather than ensuring thorough AML due diligence. This shift in attention can inadvertently result in compliance gaps and violations.

Leveraging Technology to Address Compliance Challenges

To tackle these challenges, risk and compliance technology platforms like Verify 365 provide essential tools to support estate agents in meeting their AML obligations.

Rudi Kesic, CEO of Verify 365, highlights the role of technology in facilitating compliance:

“Technology plays a vital role in empowering estate agents to navigate the complex landscape of AML compliance effectively. By leveraging advanced tools and automated processes, businesses can streamline their operations and ensure robust AML due diligence throughout their workflows.”

How Verify 365’s Technology Can Assist

Verify 365’s risk and compliance platform offers a range of features designed to address estate agents’ compliance needs and mitigate AML risks.

Streamlined ID Verification

By utilising advanced ID verification software, estate agents can efficiently authenticate customer identities and identify potential fraudulent activities. Automated processes enhance efficiency and reduce the risk of human error.

Seamless Source of Funds Verification: Verify 365’s integration with open banking enables estate agents to conduct seamless source of funds verifications. This feature helps agents assess the legitimacy of financial transactions, ensuring compliance with AML regulations.

Comprehensive Sanctions Screening

The platform’s sanctions checks enable estate agents to screen individuals and entities against global sanctions lists. This ensures that they do not engage in business with sanctioned or high-risk individuals, thereby minimizing AML risks.

Enhanced AML Due Diligence

Verify 365’s comprehensive AML checks assist estate agents in conducting enhanced due diligence, risk assessments, and ongoing monitoring. These checks help identify suspicious activities and flag potential AML violations for further investigation.

Efficient Digital Client Onboarding

By leveraging digital client onboarding processes, estate agents can streamline customer interactions while maintaining robust AML compliance. Electronic document verification and secure data storage ensure efficient and secure onboarding procedures.

The increasing AML fines within the estate agency sector highlight the evolving regulatory landscape and the challenges faced by agents in an uncertain market. However, technology solutions such as Verify 365’s risk and compliance platform provide effective tools to enhance AML due diligence.