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Property sector still driving increase in AML compliance

Sector data analysis and insight by Credas Technologies, the leading identity verification checks provider, shows that UK estate agents are contributing significantly to another annual increase in the number of UK companies that are registering for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) supervision.

To make it as difficult as possible for money launderers to exploit businesses by using them to ‘clean’ money obtained through illegal practices, it has been a legal requirement for UK companies to register for AML supervision since 2018.

In the ensuing years, countless more businesses have taken measures to register for AML, and the number keeps on increasing.


Tim Barnett, chief executive officer of Credas Technologies says: “Once again, it is estate agents that are proving to be the most proactive professionals when it comes to tightening the net against money laundering within UK business. The UK property market has long been a common target for money laundering and for far too long it’s been easy for them to exploit the property purchasing process in order to wash their ill-gotten gains.”

Barnett concluded: “Every new estate agency business that registers for supervision is making it that bit harder for these criminals to succeed in their illegal endeavours and that is fantastic news for everyone…except the criminals, of course.”

AML driven sectors

In the year 2020-21, HMRC reported that 30,602 businesses had registered for AML supervision, rising from 26,194 in the previous year, and now, in 2021-22, the figure has climbed by a further 0.9% to 30,866 registered UK businesses.

The recent analysis by Credas Technologies now reveals that the business sectors to have contributed the largest increase are the Art Market, up 358%, and Letting Agent Businesses, up 191% since last year.

However, these two sectors were not even placed under HMRC supervision until the 10th of January 2020, which explains why they are now seeing such an enormous increase in registrations.

When looking at the most well-established AML sectors, it’s actually Estate Agency that is leading the way with a 3.7% annual increase in registrations, rising from 11.416 businesses in 2020-21, to 11,843 in 2021-22.

To this end, since 2018-19, the sector has seen a 48% increase in AML-registered businesses as estate agents mobilise the surge to clamp down on criminal economic activity.

In the past year, estate agents have also accounted for the second-largest proportion of all AML registered businesses, followed by Money Service Businesses (3.1%), and Art Market Participants (3%).

Somewhat surprisingly, in a progressively digital world, IT and Digital Payment Service Providers make up the smallest proportion of AML registered businesses, thus accounting for only 0.2% of the total.


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