Estate Agent AML Fines on the Rise

Fines for non-compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) regulations for real estate agents have risen rapidly over the past 12 months, recent research shows.

The latest analysis by identity verification checks provider Credas Technologies has revealed that the average AML fine issued to estate agents in the 2022/23 financial year was £5,350, an increase of 49% compared to the previous year.

The data means that estate agency businesses received the fourth largest average fine issued this year to date, coming slightly behind letting agencies, which received an average fine of £9,050, and art market participants, which received an average fine of £10,000.

Money service businesses have been issued with the highest fines, being hit with an average of £1.5 million.

The increase reverses the previous downward trend within the real estate agency sector, which had seen the average AML fine drop year on year since 2019. The upturn in fines for non-compliance is being attributed to difficult market conditions.

Tim Barnett, chief executive of Credas Technologies, said: “Although the estate agency sector remains one of the most frequently penalised for AML breaches, the average fine issued had been in slow decline, indicating that the industry was very much heading in the right direction.

“However, this positive trend has, so far, been reversed this year. This highlights the far tougher landscape we’re facing at present, with many agents likely feeling the pressure of an uncertain market.

“As a result, it’s likely that they have been focussing their attention on overcoming the problems facing them, with AML due diligence being put on the backburner, albeit with often costly consequences.”

Estate agencies have been fined a total of £2.5 million in penalties for non-compliance since AML supervision was introduced in 2017–18. This ranks second across all supervised sectors, behind money service businesses, which have received a total of £6.2 million in fines.

The latest fines reinforce the importance for estate agents and other regulated firms to implement and oversee comprehensive and cohesive compliance programmes. Procedures and policies should be regularly reviewed to ensure they comply with requirements and ensure firms do not fall foul of the law.

Compliance Solutions for Regulated Businesses

At AML & Compliance, we understand precisely what is required from all regulated businesses and have the experience to help devise and produce an effective AML compliance programme to fit your needs.

We can help organisations of all shapes and sizes from across different sectors to undertake a risk assessment to ensure that they are compliant with AML regulations and have the necessary policies and procedures in place to avoid any breaches.

A risk assessment provides valuable insight into a business when performed correctly. Along with an overview of risk, these crucial assessments also highlight issues within the business, so it is essential to undertake a risk assessment properly. All of a company’s building blocks must be considered, including its staff, clients, operations, and finances.

By working with AML & Compliance, a business can be assured that we will bring the required level of knowledge and expertise needed to perform a risk assessment which has value to the business and is not simply a box-ticking exercise. Our team can also provide a full range of services that include:

  • Consultancy.
  • Compliance Policies.
  • Training.
  • Handbooks.
  • Auditing.

Our services focus on businesses’ Anti-Money Laundering and Regulator requirements through the implementation of effective policies, procedures, training, and consultancy. We also provide continued monitoring of staff and ongoing training to ensure that everyone within a business is aware of the latest requirements and complies with their responsibilities.

Get in Touch

If you believe your business may be at risk, or wish to confirm your firm is achieving the required standard of AML and Compliance, we can help. We offer a full range of services focused on ensuring businesses across all regulated sectors create, maintain and evidence their compliance with the requirements of their regulators and legislation.

Our Packaged Services include:

AML Policy and Procedures including auditing and reporting

AML and Compliance Administration Management

These packages have been designed to provide a core compliance service to regulated businesses in the most cost-effective way to manage and control their AML and Compliance processes.

We adopt a sensible and pragmatic approach to fees, ensuring that we are competitive and always add value. As necessary, we will agree on packaged services to control cost and enable clients to spread payments to alleviate cash flow, yet ensure services are provided when needed. If you want to discuss our services in more detail, contact us at 0203 985 8553, email us or complete an enquiry form.