What is money laundering?
Money laundering is the process of moving money obtained by criminal activity through a series of transactions to conceal where the money originated from. This process creates the illusion the money came from a legitimate source. Money laundering is a substantial issue in the UK; the National Crime Agency stated in their Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) Annual Report 2015 that the total figure of assets denied to criminals as a result of consent requests (refused and granted) during the reporting period was £46,375,449.
What are the Government doing about the issue?
On 26 June 2017 The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (more commonly referred to as the Money Laundering Regulations 2017) came into force in the UK. These regulations aim to reduce the social and economic impact of organised crime and impede the transfer of money to support funding for terrorist organisations in the UK and worldwide. Under these regulations companies must have sufficient information to know who their customers are.
Why are we discussing money laundering when I am buying or selling a property?
The property market is a prime target for money laundering activity due to the size of the market and the high value of properties; it means large amounts of money can be ‘cleaned’ in a single transaction. For this reason, estate agents must comply with money laundering regulations and register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for anti-money laundering supervision. It is an offence to trade as an estate agent without being registered.
How are GL & Co Estate Agents complying?
GL & Co Estate Agents are registered with HMRC for anti-money laundering supervision. We have robust money laundering procedures in place and have appointed a Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) within the business. The MLRO ensures our team are fully trained and up to date with money laundering procedures, our procedures are compliant with the regulations and reports are dealt with appropriately. A breach of the money laundering regulations is a criminal offence and could result in unlimited fines and/or imprisonment for GL & Co.
As part of our obligations, we are obliged to carry out customer due diligence (CDD):
• Identifying and verifying our clients identity
• Identifying and verifying any beneficial owners
• Where required, obtaining information on the purpose of business relationships
• Identifying any Politically Exposed Persons as defined by the regulations
Here at GL & Co Estate Agents we use an electronic verification system to do this customer due diligence, using full names, address and date of birth for clients. In some situations we may also require one form of photo ID (passport or driving licence) and a utility bill.
We have to keep the following records for 5 years to show our compliance with the money laundering regulations and for any resulting investigations:
• Copies of, or references to, the evidence obtained of a customer’s identity for five years after the end of the customer relationship, or five years from the date when the transaction was completed.
• Supporting records relating to a customer relationship or occasional transaction for five years from the date when the transaction was completed.
GL & Co are members of NAEA Propertymark, giving you peace of mind we are working to the highest standards within the industry as we comply with their professional code of conduct, designed to protect consumers when buying and selling their homes.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help.