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A third of property professionals aren’t AML compliant – study

Almost a third of property professionals believe their own anti-money laundering (AML) procedures wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny, research from Credas Technologies reveals.

The AML technology platform surveyed over 1,000 property professionals and found that less than a quarter utilised as professional company to handle their AML compliance.

With 45% of property experts carrying out their own AML checks, it’s perhaps worrying that 13% of those also believe it doesn’t matter as they don’t think they will ever come under fire. 


What did the survey reveal?

When asked about the importance of AML compliance in relation to other workplace goals, just 37% believed that it was the most important.

Some 23% stated that hitting their own personal performance targets was of greater importance, 14% prioritised securing additional earning opportunities, and 26% placed both factors above AML compliance in terms of importance.  

However, Credas Technologies also found that just 11% would intentionally turn a blind eye to AML compliance in order to hit performance targets or secure additional income opportunities, while 9% stated that they may do it unintentionally. 

Just 11% also stated that with the cost of living increasing, a strain on personal finances may cause them to brush off AML compliance in order to improve their own financial situation. 

How important is AML to the industry?

This pro-AML attitude from the industry suggests that operational strain is a far bigger factor when it comes to remaining completely AML compliant. 

When asked about their attitudes towards AML, 44% of respondents believe they are the frontline in the fight against it, 43% think it’s a pain but appreciate why they need to do it, and just 12% don’t believe it should be their problem.

The good news is that three-quarters of property professionals have also had some form of training when it comes to spotting potential money laundering warning signs, although just 16% stated this training was given by a professional AML company. 

However, the vast majority want to see more done to prevent money laundering, with 87% believing AML checks should be a legal requirement for homebuyers and sellers before they are even allowed to submit an offer or instruct an agent. 

Meanwhile, the vast majority (90%) would also like to see HMRC be more proactive in helping the industry rather than ‘clamping down’ simply by issuing fines for non-compliance.

Still a ways to go with AML compliance

Tim Barnett, chief executive of Credas Technologies, believes the property industry is still finding its feet when it comes to complete AML compliance.

But he also says its largely down to a lack of resources rather than an anti-AML attitude, with many struggling under workplace pressures caused by the pandemic property market boom.

“The in-house execution of AML checks is no doubt adding to this workload and when coupled with the sporadic level of training with regard to spotting money laundering warning signs, it’s hardly surprising the industry is crying out for help,” he adds.

“The good news is that the majority of property professionals realise the important role they play in preventing money laundering via the sector and they would like to see more done to help them win this fight.”

“Unfortunately, this help is unlikely to come from HMRC or any legislative changes with regard to how buyers and sellers are qualified before they can enter the market, so utilising the help of an AML professional is the best way to reduce the burden and increase your AML effectiveness.”


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